Since the vernal equinox (first day of spring) passed, the sun stays up longer than it stays down. That’s the signal for those uninvited guests at any garden party – weeds!
I’ve been battling the pests for a few weeks now so I looked forward to Rob Ingram’s Saturday Community Garden class on organic options for controlling the buggers.
Weeds invade everyone’s land, even top-notch gardeners such as Ingram. He recently had Community Garden monitors put up a ‘WEEDS’ sign on his patch because of goat heads.
Ingram knows weeds – he’s an official weed manager. Currently, he works on a project with ADOT to control vast swaths of weeds that have popped up next to highways.
“These weeds are a fire hazard,” he said.
But he has a challenge for the state road agency - try to solve the problem without using pesticides such as Roundup.
He gave that same challenge to the gardeners who came to his weed class.
“It’s better to use natural remedies than toxic pesticides,” he said.
Although I hoped for a magic potion I could pour onto the little green invaders, he had no such advice.
“The best thing for weeds is…a hula hoe - Or some call it a stirrup hoe or scuffle hoe,” he said.
My heart sank.
Ah well, I thought, more opportunity for exercise – I guess.
But the toxic alternative, Roundup, gives me the heebee geebeez.
A lot of people thought the weed killer Roundup would prove the magic elixir to solve the pesky weed problem, but studies show the pesticide can cause cancer, Parkinson’s disease and infertility.
Just last month, the science journal Entropy published a report stating researchers have found residue of “glyphosate” — the main ingredient in Roundup - in food.
According to the report, the effects from eating Roundup-infused plants builds up in our systems over time and can therefore disrupt bodily functions and create disease.
Community Garden organizers hope to teach people how to rebuild soils that been depleted of nutrients and soaked in toxic pesticides.
Ingram did say that Plant Fair nursery carries organic pesticides, but they do not really solve the problem as well as a hoe.
With Arizona’s official list of weeds stretching to 80, I’m going to be doing a lot of hoeing.