a The Learning Garden: Weeds and Wheat

Monday, July 07, 2014

Weeds and Wheat

Summer greetings,

There's new life in the Learning Garden...

Meet Dewan Darnardi, Undergraduate Research Assistant, Learning Garden. Go Dewan!
Meanwhile Angela Finlay is the stellar summer Garden Manager.  

RIght now, the crew is weeding, doing some planting, and fixing up the old school compost box.

Last month, a bird (kill-deer) made a nest in the centre of the Celtic Spiral...under a lone, 7 inch tall weed.  The bird did its best to protect the eggs...from this increasingly popular human meditation place. As always, the garden made room and space, for all. 

Student Sharline Konkin has created a space age strawberry tower, which raises moisture from below. Note the genius of the PVC pipes...vertical gardens...and the cool use of space:

Sharline's daughter, Eiliya, another friend of the Learning Garden:

Meanwhile, weeds continue to bring questions and callouses. On the one hand, we have never wanted a perfectly manicured garden here at the LG. On the other...to what extent do aggressive weeds take over and choke out all other species? On the other (three hands?) the drive for the perfect lawn has brought about aggressive pesticides and genetic mutations.

Dr. Leonard Perry at the University of Vermont has this to say:

"Most may think this topic absurb at first glance, but there are actually reasons you might want to have a garden of weeds.  They can provide greens for cooking, medicinal uses, crafts, or food for wildlife.  Most weeds double as wildflowers, some more attractive than others and so better suited for a garden just for beauty.
The best way to control weed seed dispersal is to cut them off before they ripen.  Use an old-fashioned scythe, grass clippers, hedge shears, or string trimmer to cut back to half height after flowering.  If you don't get to this, as I often don't, then mulch desirable weed plants with at least two inches of grass clippings or similar organic matter.  Or you can weed your weed garden, odd as this sounds, as you would any garden."
Weeding...the weeds? 

Mother Earth says:

"Contrary to their reputation, beneficial weeds under certain circumstances can be helpful in the garden by holding top-soil, pulling up water and nutrients, providing food, controlling insects and more."

Sometimes it's good to think of things another way.

Dream of Wheat

Turning to wheat, the dreaming of planting wheat in the Celtic Spiral has come true. Thanks to Dewan and Kieran Rogers, Learning Garden Club. Yes- those are the rocks collected by the school children last Spring.

Planting wheat will help us raise awareness of the world food shortage, including the wheat shortage in Britain last year, due to climate change and flooding. We also support the Canadian Wheat Growers. Thanks also to our funder, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, for making this project possible.

Long live the weeds and the wildness yet.
Gerard Manley Hopkins

All for now.


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