Monday, July 6, 2009

Harvesting chicken greens

This time of year my garden is a gorgeous green, full of healthy happy plants and soil pretending to be loam. There's even the occasional earthworm to be found munching through the decaying bougainvillea mulch that coats most of the garden paths.

Trouble is, most of those healthy happy greens are known in gardening parlance as weeds! But I prefer to see them in a different light, in my attempt to create harmony and positive karma in my largely organic garden. You see labelling these opportunistic chaps as unwanted intruders is a largely negative concept, which may have well, largely negative repercussions.

Having done some reading about some of the more wacky gardening communities around the world, like Findhorn in northern Scotland, there seems to be some value in respecting all plants and animals that visit your patch of earth, even the less savoury ones that some people call pests. Instead of creating monocultures, allowing shared use of the resources seems to lead to healthier, more productive soils and gardens. It's a challenging concept, but hey, I kind of like getting a bit weird from time to time!

My neighbour, who heads up quite a large local NGO involved in climate change, water management and agricultural issues, seems to think that the best approach is poison. This seems to be a very non organic and destructive way to view things. I prefer to find a useful alternative, with the emphasis being on the word useful.

So I harvest my "excess greens", being those plants growing in places where I'd rather they weren't, and using them as chook food or garden compost. The real challenge is keeping up with the burgeoning supply that threatens to swamp my paths and verges. It's easy work, with the ground being soft from all the rain, and as I harvest I think positive thoughts about how useful these little plants are in their next job of yellowing up my eggs, or providing nutrients to my impoverished sandy patch.

And just maybe I'll get them harvested before they flower and set seed, as much as I appreciate them, there's just no room for reproduction on my patch chaps!!

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