Dames Rocket in back, Hounds Tongue in front.

Dames Rocket in back, Hounds Tongue in front.

The Weed Warrior sets out to define weediness

First of all, I apologize to Cailey Chase of Vahana Nature Rehabilitation for the misnaming of her goats’ breed on last week’s photo.

Her weed eaters are actually Spanish goats that produce Cashmere, not Angora. So, if you are interested in milling goat hair for Cashmere knitting and weaving, Cailey would love to talk to you.Sending bags of it to PEI for milling is a stretch for her. Cailey’s website is: vahana.ca.

Secondly, my dandelion taste experiment was conducted again on May 20. A washed dandelion flower, with green knob attached, still tasted like lettuce. And, three dozen dandelion flowers in a cup of flour, with two eggs and some milk, seemed to be the right combination for two pan-sized breakfast treats.

This week’s article deals with the topic of ‘what is a weed.’

Basically, the definition of weediness seems to be largely in the eye of the beholder. Farmers prefer to grow only the crops they planted. Many lawn growers want green-only plants in their sod. Gardeners seem to be choosy about the flowering plants that are allowed to grow on their property. Lumber producers don’t seem to like broadleaf trees growing in the forests that they log. Wildlife and ranch animals are choosy about which plants they will eat.

So, does it really matter what grows where? Do we just tell everyone, “get over yourself and consume what ‘Mother Earth’ put on your plate?”

Well, farmers don’t seem to want weeds to contaminate the grain they sell. Lawn and garden owners appear to have an ‘artistic eye’ that matters a lot to them. Lumber producers prefer to mill and sell only certain species of tree that are the most profitable for them. Wildlife and ranch animals, apparently, have taste buds that decide what tastes good.

Are there any other downsides to weeds? Yes, weed plants can have a significant effect on each of the above groups. Farmers and lumber producers can’t make as much money per hectare, if “weed” plants become a large fraction of their crop. Lawn and garden owners are offended when unwanted plants invade their yards. Wildlife and ranch animals can go hungry or be poisoned when unwanted plants invade and take over their habitat.

Yes, weeds cause real problems for local people and animals. What can we do about weeds? And, what are some of the costs that come with how we, as a community, choose to deal with ‘weeds?’

Let’s think about the problem. I will write about it next week.

Weed Warrior Frank