Note: This series usually includes philosophical reflections during my visits to the beach, most often the Atlantic Ocean coast. This post, however, is an exception to this style as it came during my time in our garden about 15 minutes west of our beloved shoreline.
In general, gardening or farming in South Florida thrives during the winter months as the sunshine is less strong than during our sweltering summer season. Varieties like broccoli, squash and strawberries come in tasty bounties from December through March. Heavy growing in a small gardens also includes weeds of every shape and strength.
Why Weed: Pros and Cons
I’ve always assumed that weeds should be taken care of right away upon the first sight of them in your garden space. That naive assumption has been overwhelmed by the reality that weeds can invade more quickly than we’d like and the question becomes “why and when do I weed?”
Did you know that weeds actually benefit the soil by their very existence? I didn’t know this tidbit until recently in my self-taught journey of tilling the soil. All my life I believed that all weeds were bad and need to be eradicated. It turns out many can actually benefit a garden environment by balancing the soil’s composition and affecting the insect population. A British website called Plants for a Future is one of the many in cyberspace that has great information for any of you interested in learning more about how weeds can benefit: http://www.pfaf.org/user/cmspage.asjustpx?pageid=44
At the same time, it’s not advised that we start planting weeds en masse or allowing them to take over. They can strangle weaker plants, repel certain types of plants and overall wreck havoc in a garden’s design.
Weeds Within Us All
Yesterday I continued the work I began a couple weeks ago following my return from a 5 week trip away from home. A gardener’s bittersweet emotion is coming back to their garden after a long absence: anxious to see what’s happened, both good and bad.
The initial shock of seeing all the weeds that had hidden my humble garden wore off after a couple days and I set to working little by little each day to remove them. The hardest part has been overcoming the procastination that paralyzes me when looking at what needs to be done.
As I pull weeds from their roots, I imagine I’m also pulling at those inclinations inside my spirit that I’ve allowed to take hold and sometimes dictate illogically what’s the best way to react to persons and situations.
My grapevines are in a frozen stranglehold that makes it difficult to discern which is weed and which is the true vine: I have to prune with my steel cutter carefully so I can be certain to remove the hindering plant(s). This reminds me of how when I’m facing a behavior pattern or addiction that I cannot just pull out every facet at random. It must be a multi-step process with care to every detail, enabling true freedom and healing that will endure future entrapment.
One day, when life may afford me more free time, I hope to learn the names of some of the beneficial weeds that I encounter in my garden every year. As I pulled more yesterday and shook the soil out from their groping roots, I could see how there were vegetable and herb plants around them that weren’t hurting–they looked stronger for having had to bicker with the assaulting weed beside them. How often we can all agree that going through tough or sticky circumstances or personal relationships have help strengthen our character’s resolve to strive to still live for the good and love of all?
Weed On: Whether Garden or Soul
I hope this short piece can help any reading as we are all gardeners, if not of the soil, definitely of our soul. May you find Peace always.
R.V. Saridakis Bean