Organic No-Till Living Mulch Weed Ecology: Weed 'Em and Reap Part 2


Weed 'Em and Reap Part 2: Reduced tillage strategies for vegetable cropping systems [DVD]. A. Stone. 2006. Oregon State University Dept. of Horticulture. Corvallis, Oregon. Available at: (verified 17 Dec 2008).


Helen Atthowe, BioDesign Farm. Stevensville, MT.

Audio Text

Weed Ecology

We’ve learned some stories about weed ecology as well. One of the weeds that has evolved, or at least been released from competition is this Malva neglecta or common mallow. It has basically formed a strong, dominant part of the vegetative system along with chickweed and all of the annual weeds that we had when we began; lamb’s quarters, redroot pigweed, quackgrass, have all disappeared or have been very much marginalized compared to these two weeds. There was a time when I was quite concerned about it, because it’s become very dominant as you can perhaps see here. I just happened to look up in Bob Parnes’ Fertile Soil what actually the nutrient value of this particular weed is. And according to Parnes, mallows contribute 80 lbs of nitrogen per ton, which is actually higher than what legume hay will contribute. So, what’s going on here is obviously, this is not a nitrogen fixer as the clovers are or as the legumes are, so how come there’s so much nitrogen? Basically what has been suggested is this plant is a very good scavenger, a very good accumulator of nitrogen and that it helps cycle it through the system and because I’m creating, over the last eleven years here, a system based on recycled nutrients, we’ve created perfect habitat for this scavenger.

Organic No-Till Living Mulch Weed Ecology: Weed Em and Reap