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Weeds: Guardians of the Soil Paperback – June 1, 1980
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"It goes without saying that there must be scientific planning and well-directed procedure, else accomplishments may result in little more than the sentimental hysteria which a bit of superficial knowledge about Nature seems to arouse.....But stern science, without a measure of sentiment-- true Nature-sentiment-- swings the pendulum too far in the opposite direction.....Anyone who thinks that he must kill a bird in order to study it thoroughly is not a naturalist. He is an anatomist who should work in a museum." (pg. 133)
This should be re-published and redistributed to the general public!
Weeds tend to balance soil deficiencies or surplusses, break up dense soils, provide soil organic matter, regulate soil moisture, contribute to biodiversity, and often provide habitat for beneficial organisms. Identifying the weeds in a given plot provides valuable clues to soil conditions once the preferences of a particular plant are understood. For example, lambs quarters grow in nitrogen-rich disturbed soils. If they appear after incorporating manure, it doesn't necessarily mean the seed was contained in the manure, but that your application has been a success.
You can read this book online at the Holistic Agriculture Library.
I just finished reading it and found it very interesting. I'm hoping to try out what he has to say. It's a bit circular, saying the same thing, but with different stories and situations, but I still found it fascinating to read about weeds in such a way.