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back to earth weeds and seeds

Community Day
At the centre of the programme, our weekly Community Day brings together people of all ages, ethnicities, genders, abilities, classes and nationalities to share food and collectively make, learn, and debate.

June 29–September 26, 2019

An exhibition about the relationships between plants, animals and humans at a time of climate crisis.

Today the human-made landscape inland from the North Gare dunes is dominated by a nuclear power station. Go back a hundred years and the skyline was broken by the chimneys of a zinc smelter and sulphuric acid factory. The zinc came from Australian mines, shipped around the globe, processed and used to galvanise Tees Valley’s steel. Some people think that the extra colour found in the orchids is a response to the pollution leftover from the zinc works… Research indicates that plants placed under environmental stresses… synthesise more of the chemical responsible for the colour purple.”

Art in Action
We work with constituents who inform and shape who we are and what we do and we have a space for presenting our extensive community-based work that takes place within MIMA and beyond the museum.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
Centre Square
Middlesbrough TS1 2AZ
United Kingdom
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–4:30pm,
Thursday 10am–7pm,
Sunday 12–4pm

Excerpt from Plants In and Out of Place, a new publication by Helen Bynum, commissioned by MIMA, that reflects on the botany of the Tees Valley and weaves together social, economic, agricultural and medical histories.

Did you know that corn gluten meal is birth control for seeds? Sprinkle it on your garden and it will keep weed seeds from germinating and growing into plants. Of course, corn gluten meal will keep any seed from germinating, so don’t try this on your vegetable garden until your plants are established and you’ve finished planting seeds.

Smother weeds and prevent new ones from growing by covering them with old newspapers. A thick layer of newspaper will keep sunlight from reaching weed seeds, so they can’t sprout. Wet the soil first, and then lay your newspaper down, wetting it thoroughly again before covering with mulch. This is a great way to recycle, and as a bonus, you’ll encourage earth worms to come and stay.

By Hand

Cover your planting areas with mulch and you’ll keep weed seeds from coming into contact with the soil in the first place. Mulch will also keep sunlight from reaching seeds that are already underground, so they won’t get a chance to sprout. Mulch offers the added benefits of retaining moisture and breaking down to enrich your soil. And it looks really pretty, too.

Apply vinegar with a spray bottle, pump sprayer, or brush. Like other natural herbicides, vinegar cannot differentiate between weeds and other plants. Do this early in the morning, when there’s little wind, to avoid contaminating nearby plants. Vinegar’s killing properties are activated by the sun, so try this on a cloudless day, which also ensures that rain won’t wash it off before it works its magic.

You can rid yourself of weeds the old fashioned way—pulling them by hand—if you’re vigilant. Wear a dedicated pair of gardening gloves for the task to avoid inadvertently transferring seeds elsewhere. Good gardening tools like a claw or sharp trowel can help you loosen the weed roots from the soil first. Pulling a weed completely out by the root is the only way to ensure it will not return.