Thursday, March 28, 2019

Uses for Your Spring Weeds

I believe I read somewhere, that a weed is nothing more than a plant no one has found a use for.  It is with that in mind that I draft this post for all of you.  I have found at least a couple good uses for weeds here that I find myself turning to each spring. There are countless others that I have read about as well, but have yet to have found the time to try.  Did you know you can mike wine from dandelion flowers?  Who knew!!

Here are some of my favorite uses for weeds

Perhaps the most obvious use for weeds is to add them to the compost, which is something we do often!  I love the addition of green material that it adds to our piles, and they often come with a bit of soil that helps boost the microbial life in the pile and help get it cooking. Composting is super easy.  Just pile up your organic matter some place and let it sit for a while.  Or invest in one of those fancy rolling compost tumblers.  We picked one up at a yard sale last year and I am loving it so far this spring!

I believe fully that the single most important thing we can do to have a thriving yard and garden, is understand the importance of building soil.  Organic material is the foundation of healthy soil, which feeds plant growth in a perpetual cycle.  By composting weeds, we can return them to the soil, along with some of the nutrients they removed when they were growing.  Composting also allows for the addition of other resources, such as shredded paper, kitchen scraps, even paper towels and coffee filters.  Which means adding weeds to the pile doesn't just return nutrients back to the soil, it helps bring extra nutrients to the soil, and we end up with more soil than we started with, which is an excellent problem to have.

My second favorite use for weeds is as feed for animals.  Here at our home and garden we keep chickens and rabbits.  A few years back I started raising meat rabbits as part of my homesteading journey.  Rabbits breed like well, rabbits, and thus make a great meat source for those interested in growing their own.  For me however, they have ended up being an excellent producer of fertilizer for the garden, as well as a very useful place to dispose of weeds from around the yard.  They love them, and I get a pelleted soil boosting miracle within a few days. Rabbit droppings don't need to be composted before adding them directly to the soil, so feel free to use them whenever you need them.

Chickens on the other hand, have what is known as hot manure, which means it must be aged and composted before adding it to your growing areas, but the beautiful thing about it, is that it is an amazing accelerator of the composting process in your pile.  Adding garden weeds and grass clippings to the diet of your chickens will result in a dense yellow yoke that is amazing.  During this time of year, my yokes are orange more than yellow, and I know its due to the extra green in their diet, along with all the worms hiding in the roots of those weeds.  And, if you are using deep bedding like I am in the chicken coop, anything they don't consume will just get added to the compost pile later.

Build Soil 

Whatever you do in your yard and garden, remember above all else that the soil is the foundation for everything you are trying to grow.  If the soil isn't healthy, then your plants will suffer and fail to reach their full potential. So take my advice and don't waste those weeds by throwing them into the trash can.  Use them to build even more soil.  It's well worth the effort.

If you are into this sort of thing, there is more information over at our original web site which you can view here. There is loads of information about gardening, composting, and even some ideas about home remodeling!  Come check it out.  We'll keep posting here on the blog, and do our best to continue to add more content to the website as well.

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