Most people hate weeds, myself included…until today.
As gardening season is upon us, I’ve had my hands in the dirt this weekend longing for growth. While I’ve had very good success with my soil, I must admit that I’ve often wondered what the true conditions of my soil were.
Succumbing to my curiosity, I purchased a soil testing kit. This test would reveal my soil’s pH level, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These are good things to know. Yet, as I took less than 1/8 tsp. of soil to test with, I had to wonder how accurate a portrait of soil quality would be revealed. Could I get accurate results even with multiple samplings?
While I do not take issue with soil testing whatsoever, it reminded me of when I’ve had blood work done. The results are based only on a “snapshot”, a moment of time when that blood was drawn. An hour later, the results could be different, depending on what you were looking for i.e. cholesterol.
When I heard about weeds as soil indicators, it made a lot of sense to me. What weeds were able to grow in my soil conditions would lend more to the entire context of my soil. Gayla Trail speaks about this in her book “You Grow Girl”.
Some weeds will only grow in alkaline soil, others only in acidic soil. Some weeds prefer compacted soil, others poorly drained soil. The bottom line is that weeds will grow only where conditions are right for them.
As I read more about what weeds grown in what kinds of soil, I furiously googled each weed name trying to match what was in my garden. To my surprise, the weeds in my garden indicate high fertility!
It took me a few trips back and forth to the garden and back to the computer to correctly identify my weeds, but I feel as though the time was well spent! I have a better understanding of my soil this year. Sure, I’ll probably continue to work with my soil test kit, but I can go forward into the growing season with confidence…all because of my weeds.
***Some information for this post was obtained from “You Grow Girl” by Gayla Trail.