My uncle recently asked me why weeds do ‘so much better’ than other plants. I said that was a good question. We had been talking about how he always had a little ‘putting’ green in his backyard and how he always set up a new green every-time he moved and  that got him thinking about how he should get his son to re-establish one again. The appearance of weeds on the short specialized grass used was back of our minds as we got talking more and more about it. I could relate to my uncle’s hobby, because way back when, I too tried to set up my lawn like his. There was a layer of sand, special grass, watering and short cutting of the sparse stuff that was supposed to be so beautiful. I had no need of chemicals, but I really needed full sun and a lot more time investment than I ever could figure out was required. This was before the web and at a time when children’s needs were much greater than my ego demanding to improve my putting game. It had been a long time since I last saw my uncle’s side of the family. We had a good laugh about weeds and his putting green and we talked about organics and how things were in his (really) old times, the “good old days”. I left promising to check it out more precisely and get back to him. A couple of days later, I did a web search and saw pages and pages of definitions of weeds. I was thinking about how I should say to people, amongst other things, about weeds and organic growing methods and all the other COG issues. The answers are not that easy. Just last week I came across a web site with a list of problems as a subject. I shared the link with my son and after doing so, I visited the website realizing not only that I was a whole 40 years too late in getting my education and networking together to help solve some major world problems, but the web site was not at all what I had imagined [url:]. It can be a list for me to work on, albeit with some adjusted time-lines.

What is interesting though is that my uncle threw out a challenging idea and that inspired me to make sure my organic path can be defined and measured. Examining one’s roots in an organization is something to do often. Furthermore, listening to a whole lifetime of experience from an elder can be useful, some old ways are coming back strong, yet maybe there is room for improvement if we don’t do something because that is the way we always did it.

My definition right now is that “a weed is a plant in a place we don’t want it”.

I want now to focus on a big list of things: one at a time. As a statistician chap at my office once said. “Sometimes in our wish to prioritize things, we get a paralysis and nothing gets actually done, whereas, if we had just done one thing every day, much would have been accomplished at the end of a year”

The weeding times at the Demonstration Garden gave good results so far this year. Our vegetable beds have been vulnerable to rodents, but we will adjust our planting accordingly. Everything has been early in our garden. We have had a Buffalo Berry rescued by Staff, and we hope to see it survive the replanting. We believe it collapsed in the strong wind this Spring. It seems also to be the nature of the plant, as we have seen evidence of uprooting before. We are displaying our COG OSO banner on our gardening shifts and it get noticed. We tie it up to the cedar hedge most days as the frequent wind this time of year is so strong.

This year we  added a Friday evening shift, to avoid the harsh sun and heat. We have done the odd Saturday too. The traditional Sunday’s shifts continue from 10:00 to noon and we can work in the shade if there is too much sun; one suggestion could be to have the team start earlier and just have one person staying to greet visitors until noon.

Radishes, sunflowers and cucumbers were planted this week and last. Also, last year’s Kale came up on the old stocks and it is tasty.

If you are curious or interested in helping us, please write to me and ask about our latest shifts and what tasks are upcoming. Parking permits will be arranged shortly for those coming by car

Have a great June, see you soon (maybe at the Demonstration Garden).


Jim Davidson, COG OSO Demonstration Garden Co-coordinator dr241@ncf.c

COG-OSO Demonstration Garden Update