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Re: [nafex] weed book
Sorry I'm a little slow, the book is at home, so I looked in the catalog.
The book is WEEDS AND WHY THEY GROW, by Jay L. McCaman. The blurb:
"ACRES USA has long shown that weed control lies in fertility management.
Every weed grows in a sonewhat narrow window of allowable soil conditions.
For the first time, hundreds of weeds of commercial importance are detailed
along with the chemical analysis of accompanying soil. For example, burdock
grows in soils with very high levels of iron and sulfate, very low levels of
calcium and manganese. Balance the soil, lose the weed. Softcover
monograph, 116 pages. $20
To use this book, you do have to know your weeds pretty well. I know most,
but not necessarily the species, so when they ask me if it's dwarf, tall or
some other kind of buttercup, I am faced with either guessing, or digging
out my weed book and trying to identify it, something that does not work so
well when it's winter and I'm going by memory. The smartweeds are a real
nightmare. We have 2 but there are a whole bunch we don't have. (The tall
one we leave because Japanese beetles prefer it to everything else) We
aren't growing field crops, so we aren't using the book for weed control so
much as for soil testing. I marked every weed that grows well in our
garden, then went down the charts mineral by mineral. All our weeds like
high Mg, low Ca. So we found a 66:1 lime (We'd foolishly used a 2:1 lime
the first year, then a 10:1 a couple of times since) and spread it.
Cabbages are growing well for the first time ever.
Note their description of burdock;s preferance. I planted seed of
burdock the first year, and it has an area on the edge of the garden where
it selfsows and grows, and we eat a few roots every winter. I skipped that
area with the lime this year, burdock tastes pretty good, and it doesn't
seem to spread from that area. We know we are low in manganese, we have
added sulfur twice, local soils have plenty of iron but very low calcium.
It's probably an area that missed liming in the past, and I can think of a
reason why we might have missed that particular area.
Do not order another book, TEST YOUR SOIL WITH PLANTS, which has similar
charts but much much less information. I don't know why they published it,
when this other book is so superior. The bookstore address is:
PO Box 91299
Austin TX 78709
Oh, this is silly, they have a webpage: www.acresusa.com
As I keep saying, HANDS ON AGRONOMY is a truly amazing book. Some of their
books are a little wimpy, and some are unreadable, like Albrecht's. (I
think I ought to interlibrary loan one again to see if I can read it now,
seems like it had some impressive stuff in it.) I always assumed I'd want
their PRIMER, but when I borrowed it, found out it's stuff I've known and
used for years. SECRETS OF THE SOIL is good for an overview of weird things
that work. Hmmm, not that many more I have read, some are classics, or by
people or on subjects that I hear recommended. Some of their books I would
love to read if I could get them through the library or had lots of money to
spend. I'd like all of Callahan's, including some of his early ones they
don't carry. You can find some of his old ones on the net secondhand. The
one on birds of prey must have sold real well, but I don't know if it's
ready availability means the buyers were disappointed, or got old and died
since the book came out. Bet I could interlibrary loan that one.... Have