As soil mineral balance and microbial populations improve, the domesticated crops we seek to grow become healthier, and the pioneering plants we often refer to as weeds become less healthy.

Different plants thrive in soils with different microbial profiles and different mineral profiles. The soils which are optimally balanced for our domesticated crops are not optimally balanced for the pioneering plants we call weeds.

When the crop becomes healthier than the weeds, diseases begin infecting the weeds and leave the crop alone.

Here is pigweed on the edge of a disease-free tomato field in 2006. I don’t know what this organism is. I do know the plants only survived a few weeks more, and the tomato crop remained disease-free.

A question for you: Should the organism that is causing this infection be called a ‘pathogen’ or a ‘pest’? Or does that label only apply when they infect our crop plants?