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Weeds Guardians of the Soil 1980

Weeds Guardians of the Soil 1980

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Published by: MosySpeed on Mar 25, 2011
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Weeds, Guardians of the Soil
Small farms
WeedsGuardians of the Soil
Joseph A. Cocannouer
Author of Trampling Out the VintageThe Devin-Adair CompanyOld Greenwich • Connecticut
Copyright, 1950, by The Devin-Adair Company.Manufactured in the United States of America.Reprinted, 1980
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Weeds, Guardians of the Soil
Publisher's Preface
SO FAR as we are able to determine this is the first book to be written in praise of weeds.Many are the books which treat weeds as pests, and each season sees an advance in anti-weed campaigns and techniques; a host of chemicals, mechanical eradicators and evenflame throwers are making life increasingly hard for nature's greatest and most widelydispersed group of plants -- the plants which stand condemned because they are deemed"out-of-place."That the ordinary garden and roadside weed might have a vital function in the scheme of things and be of inestimable value to mankind seems not to have occurred to mostagriculturists, whether in the classroom, the departments of agriculture or on the farm.The author of this book has been teaching conservation and biology for close to fiftyyears. But he has been a student as well and a keen field man who has specialized in theways of weeds, not only in his home state of Oklahoma where he has spent much timelearning from the Indians, but in other parts of the world -- in Europe, India and thePhilippines, particularly.According to Joseph Cocannouer, weeds -- the common ragweeds, pigweeds, pusleys andnettles, to mention four -- perform the following valuable services among others:
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Weeds, Guardians of the Soil
 1. They bring minerals, especially those which have been depleted, up from the subsoil tothe topsoil and make them available to crops. This is particularly important with regard totrace elements.2.When used in crop rotation they break up hardpans and allow subsequent crop roots tofeed deeply.3. They fiberize and condition the soil and provide a good environment for the minute butimportant animal and plant .life that make any soil productive.4. They are good indicators of soil condition, both as to variety of weed present and tocondition of the individual plant. Certain weeds appear when certain deficiencies occur.5. Weeds are deep divers and feeders and through soil capillarity they enable the lesshardy, surface feeding crops to withstand drought better than the crop alone could.6. As companion crops they enable our domesticated plants to get their roots to otherwiseunavailable food.7. Weeds store up minerals and nutrients that would be washed, blown or leached awayfrom bare ground and keep them readily available.8. Weeds make good eating -- for man as well as for livestock. The publisher can vouchfor the superiority of lamb's quarter -- a favorite of the author -- over any other domesticform of spinach or cooked greens.No, Professor Cocannouer does not believe that weeds should be allowed to go rampantand take over our farms and gardens. The function of this book, a pioneering work, is todemonstrate how the controlled use of weeds can be sound ccology, good conservationand a boon to the average farmer or gardener.D. A. G.
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