Educator Jen Ringbauer reports on our current challenge to naturally remove a persistent “weed” at Rahamim.

Over our January fallow period, we had a visiting garden crew. They had come to the wrong address – they were meant to be next door. Before our groundskeeper could get to them to let them know that they were in the wrong place, they had cut the grass so short in places that there was hardly anything covering the soil.

Unfortunately, it was at an incredibly sensitive spot. Earth has been trying so hard to protect itself in this spot by throwing up some amazing plants (some would call weeds) such as purslane and cat-head. These weeds have deep tap roots to anchor themselves and spread out across the top of Earth protecting it from erosion and the harsh sun.

In this space, where the mower was working, the ground is sloping and highly compacted by vehicles, we had managed to encourage the purslane to take over more of the space and the cathead was getting fewer in number. This is a slow succession of plants, but one that is working well. Until now.

The mowing that occurred in early January put the succession back another 12 months, and again we have a large amount of cathead in this area.

For the management of the “lawns” we always have the mower deck at its highest setting to allow for Earth to be covered and to encourage health and vigour in the plants that we are cutting down. The more green leaf area there is on a plant, the more carbon is able to be sequestered into the soil.