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Master Gardener: November gardening notes

Just what is a weed? To me, they are often “happy accidents” - reseedings by birds, etc. Ask a farmer growing a crop in the bottoms that gets invaded by “undesirables” and you’ll get a different answer. Any plant can be a weed if it pops up in the wrong location. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A weed is a plant whose virtues have not been completely discovered.” The term weed is a man-made designation for mother nature knows no plant is a detractor in the greater scheme of things.

In the spring I enjoy runs of red and white clover across my yard. The bees and assorted other pollen gatherers enjoy it, too. Since clover is a member of the pea family it can be planted as a green cover crop to enrich the soil with nitrogen. Weeds not only enrich other plants, they are often edible. (Remember the story I related a long time ago in one of my columns when a cousin of mine from out west ran into the garden chastising my dad for hoeing out common purslane. Alas, one man’s dinner salad is another man’s contribution to the compost heap!)

Been busy stowing ferns, tropicals and propagations into the greenhouse. Some of the patio plants will be checked for critters and brought in the house instead where they will cheer winter spirits and function as nature’s air purifiers. They will absorb carbon dioxide and airborne pollutants like xylene and benzene and emit oxygen, and if they bloom, filling the air with a delicious scent, that’s an added bonus. Where pets and young children are a concern, place plants out of reach.

A friend joked that the lettuce they had planted in the garden refused to grow there, but with a good spring rain the seed dispersed to the lawn where the lettuce took off with a vengeance. Instead of a “pick your own” operation, he had a “pick and mow” set-up! Gardening - you gotta love it!

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