Beneficial Weeds

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A new look at weeds
A weed is a weed is a weed. Except when it is a useful tool around the Farm. We look at weeds differently now that we are living in the country and striving to be more sustainable.

Weeds as food
Certain weeds with attractive flowers are visited by bees collecting nectar. They also collect the pollen. Some people will tell you the honey made from classic allergen weeds such as ragweed and goldenrod helps reduce allergy symptoms. We have sold some honey to individuals using it specifically for this purpose. (Disclaimer: we are not purporting that our honey is an allergy treatment.) There was a time that we would have tried to eradicate all ragweed and goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace and others to allow for more purposeful plants. Now we encourage these to be part of the landscape.

The same is true for some of the invasive shrubs. We do work to keep these under control but the wild olive, wild cherry and false honeysuckle are also beneficial to the bees.

Plants as decoys
We have learned through experience and observation that Japanese beetles prefer some weeds, e.g. pigweed to the vegetable plants. We reduce the weed level in the garden but do not eliminate entirely. This balance helps both the garden and the gardener. Chemicals are not needed to control Japanese beetles when they have a weed to eat.

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