Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

Weeds, Immigration, and Culture

We can learn a lot about life from lessons learned in the garden.

Several years ago, in an effort to improve the quality of the soil in my garden, I bought a truckload of topsoil. It was carefully spread, then tilled and worked into the soil. The original soil and the new topsoil were mixed until they became as one. At first, it was great. The soil was darker and richer looking than the native sandy soil, and the plants that I grew there were bigger and stronger. Then came the weeds.

Hidden in among that rich-looking soil that I brought in to mix with the native soil were weed seeds. Specifically, nutsedge nodules. Here we are, years later, and I am still battling the nutsedge. It spreads its roots deep below the surface, and it stores nutrition in a large nodule deep down in the soil. Just cutting them off at the surface has no lasting effect – the weed springs right back in just a couple of days. Nutsedge must be dug out by the roots, one weed at a time. The nodule must be removed. The root runners must be removed. Everything about the weed must be removed, or it will continue to spread, sap the strength of the plants that are intended to grow there, and eventually they will take over completely.

Removing the weeds and their roots is not a painless process. It disturbs the roots of the garden plants, and it is slow and tedious work. There is no alternative if the garden is to be saved. It must be done.

Culture is a very precious thing, and it must be cared for and defended. A culture – just like agriculture – requires work to maintain. There are no shortcuts. Bringing in, or allowing in, foreign elements into a native culture brings with it serious risks. While on the surface, there may appear to be benefits to mixing cultures, the hidden costs will quickly show up. Like an invasive species in nature that finds no natural enemies, it takes over and the original culture disappears. Forever.

(Originally published on March 25, 2017)


  1. Charles R Reeves II

    Sir, thank you for a simple,understandable, object lesson on a subject I have been derided for discussing.
    Charles R Reeves II

  2. Peter S. Kelley

    One of the clearest statements regarding “weeds” that I’ve ever seen.

  3. Alice Scott

    This article really hits home to me, as my beloved state of Texas is invaded by Californians and New Yorkers.

  4. Fugitive Agrarian

    Like the analogy.

    By the way, I just picked up a tip from a local (near organic) sheep herder. He uses his excess wool as a mulch to suffocate the weeds. He claims the proteins provide nutrients and the lanolin (wax in the wool) is a natural insecticide. What doesn’t shed, it would likely help hold in the water.

    If you don’t raise sheep, you may benefit from getting to know your neighbor who does. May be few and far between in FL or TX, but searching for a wool pool could identify someone nearby.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Interesting idea – I’ve never heard that before. While sheep aren’t commonly raised in Florida, there’s a flock just about 2 miles from here, we see them every year at the county fair, and my cousin has sheep on his farm about two hours drive from here.

  5. Stephen Clay McGehee

    I think it’s interesting to note that this is the second time that I have posted this article (first time was in 2017), and both times it was followed by a small flurry of unsubscribes and even a nasty comment or two. Actually, I think that’s a good thing. I’m not here to try and build a large following – there are no ads here, nor are there any affiliate links or other money-making schemes. I do this because it is something that I believe in. It is something that needs to be done. In some small way, this is part of my legacy that I will leave behind when I’m gone. I appreciate everyone who reads what I write here, including those who disagree enough to leave. Thank you.

  6. Karen Conley

    Virginia is a prime example of a culture being choked by weeds. Virginia has been invaded by foreign nationals and Yankees. That is why the Second Amendment hating Democrats are in control of the Virginia Legislature. General Lee would not even recognise the Virginia of today.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Well said, ma’am!

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