Thursday, September 6

So should we compost weeds or not?


This isn’t as clear cut as you might think.
Weeds are very rich in minerals and nitrogen. If they are all removed and burned you are in effect stripping nourishment from your soil. Many, particularly nettles, are very good for compost heaps as they speed up the rotting process and consequently heat up the heap. The more heat that is generated by rotting compost then the more seeds and disease are killed.

Some say that you can compost any sort of weed as long as you leave it on the heap for a few years before using the resulting compost. Some say that you should dry out the weeds and then compost them. Some say that as long as you don't compost strong roots and seeds then you can compost anything.

One thing that is for sure is that whether you compost your weeds or not you will always have plenty of them on your plot. For one thing weed seeds can lay dormant in the soil for very many years. Apparently bindweed seed remains viable for 30 years or so. So maybe you may just as well compost your weeds and have some benefit from them as removing them will have little effect.

Though you won’t eradicate weeds altogether unless you resort to some form of deadly chemical warfare, you will find that the type of weeds found on your plot will change over the years. Some species colonise uncultivated soil whereas others will move in after soil has been cultivated for a while. Like other plants different types of weeds prefer differing soil conditions too. You can guarantee that if weeds won’t grow on your plot you are unlikely to have much success with more choice crops.

They say that if you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen but it could just as easily be if you can’t stand weeding then give up your plot. Maybe you can just learn to live with them – after all some people call them wild flowers!

So what do you think?

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