by Christina Heid Scholbrock
This summer I had the opportunity to help in the Giving Garden at Brigit’s Bounty in Frederick. They are a nonprofit working farm, complete with bees and chickens. They feed the hungry and provide children’s programming. Originally an outreach of St. Brigit’s Episcopal Church, it is now its own entity run by AmeriCorp VISTA.
Kneeling over the beds, I was finally feeling a bit normal albeit wearing my face mask to protect other volunteers in the garden. I felt at peace in the sun with birds chirping happily in the trees. As my fellow gardeners can recognize, this was my version of meditation. While tackling the raspberry bed, our vista Rachel reminded me to, “Please leave the wild clover, it helps the soil!”
Oh yes, the clover. That pesky, strong-willed weed I’ve been trying to kill in my own yard for over a year. After hearing Rachel, I started researching through CSU extension. Clover is actually good for my yard! At the CSU extension’s website, master gardeners write that clover, being a legume, actually pulls nitrogen from the air and puts it in the soil. Thus, it improves my lawn without fertilizing. For me, having dogs and young children this was great news. I feel a sense of guilt each time I put down weed and feed, not only for my own family, but the fish down hill.
In further research, the Chicago Tribune wrote in 2012 that prior to the 1950s, clover was actually encouraged. The creation of synthetic broadleaf weed killer did a wonderful job killing all weeds. But it also killed clover. Public opinion shifted and began equating this much needed nitrogen producer as just another weed. Move forward to 2020, and neighbors struggle to keep clover at bay, especially the organic-minded neighbor. Therefore, I propose a shift in mindset back to pre-World War II. Let clover live. Now when I see happy little bees buzzing from clover flower to flower, I smile and know I am doing good by leaving it be.
Now let’s just hope my HOA doesn’t fine me.
If you would like more information on getting involved in the Giving Garden and Brigit’s Bounty, please go to their website at brigitsbounty.org or find them on Facebook. I hope to see you there.
Christina is a wife, mom, teacher, and avid gardener living in Firestone.