by Paul Staley
Harvest the weeds? Yes indeed, get out there and bring that crop in. Put them in your compost pile and you will reap two benefits at once. You will have them out of your garden, plus you’ll be adding a valuable and free source of nitrogen that will give your compost a shot in the arm.
Why throw away, or even worse, poison, what can be easily combined with last falls dead leaves to give you the best soil amendment around. Purposely harvesting the plants that Mother Nature is providing for us is a smart way to reduce material going into our nearly full landfills. You will be keeping them out of the landfill, reusing them in the compost pile and then recycling that black gold back into your own garden. That is a win, win, win situation.
Most of the weed growth now and for the next few months is green and full of moisture. Compost piles need green and brown materials in balance. Around here, it is usually not easy to come up with enough green material for our piles. Using what you would normally trash will save you money and give you green street cred with your neighbors.
A good strategy is to cut the weeds when they are about a foot tall and before they have set seed. If our spring is long and moist, you should be able to harvest them again before it is too hot and dry for them to grow. If you do not have enough in your own yard, ask your neighbors for theirs. They will look at you strangely, but will happily comply.
If you are new to composting, Santa Clara County has simple guidelines for composting here. Once you master the basics, you will find a ton of info available via your favorite search engine.
No matter how you get the info, start composting now. It is soul satisfying and one of the best things you can do to improve your own little corner of the world.
Paul Staley installs composting bins and veggie gardens for homeowners and businesses. Contact him at 650.215.3791 or visit www.growyourownfood.biz.