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Weeds — Friend or Foe? Or Both?

Weeds — Friend or Foe? Or Both?

By Amber
Farm Intern with GreenHouse17

Riiip, scratch, scratch…

That’s the sound you might likely hear if you step foot in the garden and walk close beside myself or another friend of the GreenHouse17 garden. With organic gardening comes a lot of organic removal, a.k.a. weeding. Right as soon as we accomplish a good amount of sowing it seems the weeds in the freshly tilled soil decide to accomplish a lot of growing as well.

With the fresh and welcome rains we’ve been rain-dancing for and blessedly getting, the sweet potatoes, corn, bush and pole beans, herbs, onions, tomatoes, peppers, okra, and watermelon all have been sprouting into strong miniature versions of their later selves. The sweet flowers, zinnias, bachelor’s buttons, and wild-looking bee balm among so many others that I myself am still learning all lifting their pretty little heads.

And the weeds have decided to race us for control of the uncovered and yet unmulched ground.

I was asked to clarify one day what a weed was to a lady doing stipend work, and who is learning more of the English language. She almost answered the question before I was able to answer, “It is a plant that is not wanted?”

“Yes” I replied.

“So even a squash plant in a place you do not want it to grow makes it a weed?”

“You got it,” was my approval.

So anything can be a weed. Growing in a space you do not want at a time you do not think is appropriate. Here’s the thing though, some of those weeds have pretty little heads themselves that find their way into a masterful bouquet. Some of those weeds also have been providing us, the volunteers, the ladies working on stipend, the intern, and our lovely advocate Jessica with some valuable, fun and deep conversation time. They also have provided some much needed therapy, too, as the mind is able to relax and wander, the motion of ripping something out and looking behind at how much has been cleaned up in a bed soothes a soul that has been dealing with the stress of reshaping a life.

It makes me think how many times in life things come up that seem so ugly, hard to uproot and deal with, hard to…control.

A place like this reminds you how often those kinds of things happen to the innocent. What kind of beauty, though, comes from that unwanted event? Even if it’s ugly, unwanted, potentially devastating…how can it be reshaped and reused to bring peace, clarity and fruitfulness in a different sort of way.

The garden really makes you think sometimes.

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