Revenge of the Weeds: A Hive Garden Journal Two Months Update and Using Kitchen Scissors to Cut Weeds
It is when you directly compare two things next to each other that the glaring differences come forth. Someone once said that for the novice to taste and identify notes whilst only sampling a wine on its own will almost be impossible. It is only when you compare it with a different wine that the comparison so to say highlights the differences. (I think I picked this up in a video on coffee.) The same reasoning, for me, can be used with plants. It is only when you compare images over time that you can actually “see” the growth in plants. It is only when you compare these images that the differences are highlighted.
In this post, or Hive garden journal update post, I want to share with you the progress of six baby plants that I made from cuttings of the Jade plant (Crassula ovata). I have identified that this plant does really well in my garden, and it looks really nice in a pot. I have done this successfully earlier last year (without any photographs, unfortunately) and the three I planted in pots are almost a meter tall now. I also showcase the progression of some succulents (from the genus Echeveria) that grew so quickly in two months’ time. However, before that, I briefly write about the revenge of the weeds!
Revisiting Haphazard Composting and the Revenge of Weeds: Cutting Weeds with Scissors
In a previous post on composting, I introduced what I call haphazard composting. One glaring problem with this way of composting is that seeds of plants that go into the compost are not always killed. The theory behind composting is that the extreme heat kills the seeds so that they cannot germinate where you eventually use the finished compost. My haphazard method allows for material to be added after the initial extreme warming up of the compost. The problem: some of the seeds of plants do not get killed. And this problem can haunt you, especially in young new plants.
Weeds are normally classified as plants that grow unwanted in a certain space. However, weeds according to me are also extremely resilient plants. This is partly due to an extremely dense and strong root system. The biggest problem is when you make cuttings and wait for them to form a strong root ball and your compost (like mine) contains seeds of other plants, competing plants can grow with the cuttings. I am not too worried about this. For one, the extra roots eventually help with transplanting (there are more “roots” to hold the growing medium together). And I also feel that plants do not always “compete” for resources in the strict sense of the word, but they rather complement each other. (Maybe I am totally misguided on this.) However, sometimes things get a little too hectic and the weeds take over.
Now the problem: simply pulling the weeds from the small containers with the cuttings will uproot the small cuttings with little established roots. I simply cut them with a pair of scissors and leave the roots of the so-called weeds in the containers. I have no idea if this is true or sound, but the rotting roots will eventually feed and help the roots of the cuttings. Creating crevasses and tunnels for the new roots. I have had many successes so far with most of my cuttings. Growing new plants by the hundreds with this method, I think that even though my reasoning might be wrong something about it works.
Succulents Growing: Two Months Growing Time
We call these desert roses, but I know there is a different plant with the same name. These succulents are very popular in South Africa, and my late grandmother gave me some just before she passed away. Albeit not indigenous, they flourish in our climate. Recently my other grandmother also passed away and the first grandmother’s sister gave my mother some desert roses in a bouquet when she gave her condolences. Since then, I have planted them, and these two photographs showcase the two months since I planted them. The growth in a short amount of time is unbelievable (for me).
I took this image on the 18th of September 2021:
I took a picture this morning, 12th October 2021:
The Jade Plant Cuttings: Six Pots and Lots of Weeds
When I planted the succulents I mentioned above, I also planted six Jade plant cuttings I grew. The Jade plant grows so easily. The plant makes roots from they are exposed to water or the ground. So, when someone knocks a piece down, it will potentially grow into a new plant. This makes growing cuttings really easy. In the two months that I grew these in the pot, they have grown not as vigorously as the succulents but there is some stunning new growth. As mentioned, when you compare the photographs, the growth is evident. When you walk past the plants on a daily basis, you are not always aware of the growth. In the third set of images, you can see how the weeds took revenge on me. Some of them are plants (like wild rocket) that grow very thick and deep roots, almost like dandelion roots. There is simply no chance of just pulling them out. It took me a while to get to it, that is, I was too busy (or lazy) to clear the weeds out. But this morning I had some time. It took me 15 minutes to cut all of the weeds at the base.
Herewith is the progress over two months (the images in the first row were taken on the 18th of September, the second row on the 25th of September, and the third and fourth rows after a little slumber was taken on the 12th of November (this morning)):
The Weeds Did Not Win
I worked the new batch of freshly cut weeds into the compost. The future me will probably curse the current me for working so many seeds into the compost. Where I use the future compost, new weeds will sprout. But this will again in turn feed the next batch of compost. So we carry on this circle of composting weeds and other unwanted materials. So we carry on the circle of life. New plants will send their roots into the compost, that is, dead plants of yesteryear. Compost plant, compost plant, and so on. How beautiful and poetic, death gives life and life gives death.
Before I get too philosophical, I hope you enjoyed this journal entry of sorts. It is always nice for me to see how plants grow in side-by-side comparison photographs. You can more vividly see the growth of the plants. You get so used to them walking by them every morning. Sometimes it takes a photograph to show you the almost exponential growth. The images were taken with my Nikon D300 camera or iPhone camera. Stay safe, and happy gardening!