Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Weeds - always there to welcome you home

For the last 3 months my family and I had been away house sitting in a beautiful straw-bale home. And wow! It was amazing how well it performed thermally - it put our brick veneer home to shame. I have always heard straw-bale performed well, but feeling it was believing. Anyway, while we were staying cozy and warm and enjoying a beautiful winter rural landscape from the living room window, our vegetable garden through the window at home was being overrun with weeds. Luckily with all the wet weather they were easy to pull, and with a day of focused effort from everyone we got the garden back into shape. While doing so, what I found interesting was noticing the change in weeds.

Prior to going away I mentioned we were experiencing an epidemic of mallow weed in the vegetable garden, and that I suspected it to be an indicator of the soil being low in calcium. Well prior to leaving I threw some powdered limestone on one of the beds in an attempt to replace the lost calcium and rebalance the pH. So what was very interesting three months later, was that while most of the garden was still rife in mallow the one bed I had applied lime to was now covered in nettle instead. Out of pure curiosity I thought I might take a pH test of that bed to see if the nettle was a sign that the soil had returned to a balanced level. Sadly not, the pH was still at 5.5. But despite the measurement I do feel the nettle is a positive sign that the soil fertility is returning, as nettle is well known for liking fertile soil.

While on the topic of nettle... Apparently, somewhere in England they hold a stinging nettle eating championship. What began as an argument between two farmers over whose field had the highest nettles, now is a challenge to see who can eat the most in one hour. Now if they are eating them raw… ouch!

BTW after a day of pulling weeds, does anyone see weeds when you close your eyes? Like the image has been printed on the back of your eyelid.


  1. I suppose I never pull that many weeds. But, when I picked up pecans on our place, I would see pecans singly and while pouring. I could hear the pecans being poured or dropped a few at a time in the buckets.

  2. I get the same effect when going to bed after sitting around watching a camp fire. It takes me awhile to fall asleep as the flames keep flickering when I close my eyes.

  3. Hello Jason. Haven't visited for a while but very envious to hear of your strawbale home stay. What a dream to build an live in a hand made house. Hope your garden is thriving and recovered itself of mallow weed.serendipity2000

  4. That's understandable I haven't posted for a while. The straw bale home stay turned out to be big turning point in our lives, and I will soon starting posting all about it.

  5. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  6. Great content, amazing post altogether! keep posting such quality posts would be delighted to be updated with the latest on your blog,
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