As we gear up for planting season many folks turn to soil testing before making amendments. Totally smart. But did you know your weeds tell a story about soil health too? If you see dandelions, violets, Queen Anne’s Lace, and yarrow (to name a few) year after year, know that Mother Nature is an opportunist and trying to tell you something. We can use these clues to improve grazing and growing spaces.
Often a symptom of soil compaction as nature sends this weed with a long taproot to break it up. Could also be a sign of calcium or potassium deficiencies.
Indicates poor drainage as prefers shady, moist soils.
Loves acidic soils which lack organic matter. Best to amend with compost!
Queen Anne’s Lace
Indicates poor, dry soil. Look into cover cropping!
Prefers poor, sandy soil without moisture.
May mean a lack of organic matter, nitrogen and/or beneficial bacteria within the soil. Also indicates high levels of calcium and iron.
Prefers bare, acidic soil with poor drainage. Be sure to remove before it goes to seed. The seeds can survive their deposit for up to 50 years!
If you like these tips, you’ll find so many more weed meanings and permaculture tips in my upcoming book The Sustainable Homestead (spring 2023).
Angela is the farmer and content creator behind Axe & Root Homestead LLC. This historic six-acre permaculture farm is home to two Clydesdale horses, ten honeybee hives, five sheep, two guardian dogs, barn cats and a flock of 40 geese and ducks. The farm produces maple syrup, fruit from a small orchard and loads of garden produce for consumption, preservation and donation to the local food pantry.
The Sustainable Homestead, is out for pre-order NOW!