Concluding the Summer of Weeds

“Most weeds suffer from a bad rap. Quite a few of the weeds in your garden are probably edible or even medicinal. Some invasive plants, including horsetail and nettle, are rich in minerals and can be harvested and used as fertilizer teas. Weeds with deep taproots, such as dandelions, cultivate the soil and pull minerals up to the surface. … Weeds are nature’s way to cover bare soil. After all, weeds prevent erosion by holding soil and minerals in place. Get to know the weeds in your area so you can put them to use for rather than against you.” — Gayla Trail, You Grow Girl

Great Piece of Turf by Albrecht Dürer (photo credit: wikimedia commons)

With summer drawing to a close, it is time to conclude the Summer of Weeds. That does not mean that my interest in weeds has waned, or that posts about weeds will cease. Quite the opposite, actually. I am just as fascinated, if not more so, with the topic of weeds as I was when this whole thing started. So, for better or worse, I will much have more to say on the subject.

In fact, I am writing a book. It is something I have been considering doing for a long time now. With so many of my thoughts focused on weeds lately, it is becoming easier to envision just what a book about weeds might look like. I want to tell the story of weeds from many different angles, highlighting both their positive and negative aspects. There is much we can learn from weeds, and not just how best to eliminate them. Regardless of how you feel about weeds, I hope that by learning their story we can all become better connected with the natural world, and perhaps more appreciative of things we casually dismiss as useless, less quick to jump to conclusions or render harsh judgments about things we don’t fully understand, and more inclined to investigate more deeply the stories about nature near and far.

Of course, I can’t do this all by myself. I will need your help. If you or someone you know works for or against weeds in any capacity, please put us in touch. I am interested in talking to weed scientists, invasive species biologists, agriculturists and horticulturists, edible weed enthusiasts, plant taxonomists, natural historians, urban ecologists, gardeners of all skill levels, and anyone else who has a strong opinion about or history of working with weeds. Please get in touch with me in one of several ways: contact page, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or by commenting below.

Another way you can help is by answering the following poll. If there is more than one topic you feel particularly passionate about, feel free to answer the poll as many times as you would like; just wait 24 hours between each response. Thank you for your help! And I hope you have enjoyed the Summer of Weeds.

Quick Guide to the Summer of Weeds:

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4 thoughts on “Concluding the Summer of Weeds

  1. Good for you – I think the angle of the book is a good one. I know there are books out there about weeds, but I think yours will be different. Great Piece of Turf is one of my all-time favorite artworks, too. As for personal involvement, I’m an apartment dweller right now so I don’t have much, other than the fact the weeds (especially grasses) often appear in my photography. Maybe I can help out in that respect, who knows?

    • You sent me a link to Great Piece of Turf earlier this summer. I thought it would be perfect for this post. So, thanks!
      I am always in need of good photos, so that is definitely one way to help. Perhaps we can “talk” about that sometime. I will keep you in mind.

      • My memory is not so great – I remembered talking to someone about it but didn’t remember it was you. 😉 I’m glad the link worked for the post. Yes, I’d be happy to go through my photos, which are key-worded, to find anything you might use – who knows, I might have it. Or possibly to g out and photograph a specific plant. Speaking of which, yesterday we were on Fidalgo island, in Puget Sound, and I saw some gorgeous Reindeer lichen – Cladina portentosa. I love lichens…also beautiful Pacific madrone trees, shining in the rain with their brilliant orange bark.

        • Great! We will be in touch about photos then. Sounds like you had a beautiful walk. I haven’t been to the Puget Sound in a while. My mom is from Seattle, so I spent many summers there as a kid visiting family. I’m going to have to plan a trip back there soon.

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