Common Garden Weeds

The sooner weeds are accepted as part of gardening, the sooner gardeners can find ways to use them to the benefit. I previously posted what I had learned about using Weeds as Indicators.

But how can you use them as indicators if you can’t identify them? The Old Farmer’s Almanac recently published an article on Common Garden Weeds that I think does a pretty good job of helping with this issue.

War on Weeds

My battle with weeds starts with that grapevine I’ve mentioned on several occasions. Beyond that, it’s mostly the usual suspects.

Lambsquarters

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Anyone who has experienced lambsquarters is well aware of how fast-growing it is and how quickly the seeds spread.

You are not alone in this battle. According to the Weed Science Society of America (who knew this was a real thing?) lambsquarters ranks the most common weed in gardens.

The Old Famer’s Almanac explains that this weed rapidly removes moisture from the soil. Get rid of these guys fast!

If you’re an organic gardener, the best way to get rid of them is using a sharp hoe and some good old fashion labor.

The Almanac states that “The young shoots and leaves can be eaten raw in any vegetable dish, or sauteed or steamed like spinach.” That’s assuming you’re not using chemicals in your garden.

Crabgrass

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Last year there was a section of my garden I didn’t take the best care of. This year it’s covered with this weird grass.

Crabgrass is annoying. It spreads by seed and from rooting that lies on the soil. As an annual, it dies at the end of each growing season and requires new seeds each year.

Control the seeds, control the weed.

Crabgrass seeds can stay viable for at least 3 years in the soil. Pulling the plant prior to flowering or mowing it regularly will help prevent the spread, and after a season, will kill off the plant.

Another option is to crowd out the area with other plants or by mulching . The Almanac also states that solarization is another way to easily control the population.

Canadian Thistle

This perennial weed is pokey, difficult to remove, and spreads both sexually from wind-blown seeds and  asexually by creeping rootstocks.

The extensive and deep root system allows plants to easily recover from control attempts, such as pulling.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends the best way to control the plant is to stress it. This causes it to use it’s stored root nutrients. The plant is weakest at summertime making it a good time to begin cultivation and destroying of the root and rootstock.

The Almanac also says that one season of cultivation followed by a season of growing competent or, such as winter rye, will really help eradicate this difficult weed.

How have you struggled with weeds in your garden and how have you used them to your advantage?

 

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