Friday, June 18, 2021

Get to Know Your Weed(s)

 Not that type of weed, come on now!

Weeds are going to grow regardless of where you are so it's important to be able to identify them and pull them before they get too big and overtake your precious vegetables.  Getting to know your weeds is the hard part, once you can identify them it's easy to pull them as soon as you see them.

Starting out, the best way to go about getting familiar with the weeds in your area is to plant your vegetables thick when you're putting the seeds in the ground.  This way when they start popping up you'll see the thick line of seedlings, which is what you planted.  Then you get to see what those seedlings look like from start to finish without wondering if that actually is what you planted or not.  Anything else that does not look like the thick patch of seedlings is going to be a weed and you can pull it.

Weeds are going to vary a whole lot from city to city, state to state, region to region, and country to country so there really isn't going to be a one size fits all weed guide.  Here are a few common weeds in my area that I'm constantly battling, perhaps this will help you out on your own journey.

Top 5 Weeds in Longmont, Colorado:

1. Bindweed - Public Enemy #1  a.k.a. Morning Glory
The nastiest weed of them all.  They look innocent enough and their flowers are actually pretty cool if you let them bloom but they take over and destroy everything in their path.  They get deep roots and once you pull them more pop up.  They seem to be like strawberries and appear to spread via root runners.  They wrap themselves around anything and basically strangle whatever they attach to.  They act as if they're on cocaine 24/7/365, pull them the second you see them.

2. Wild Lettuce and Thistle
I'm grouping these together for our purposes but mostly because I can't tell them apart.  Regardless of that they both need to be pulled and they're both fairly thistly once they grow tall enough.  Pull them when you first see them to avoid needing gloves to get them out of the ground.  They will take over your space if you don't pull them.

3. Common Mallow
This seems to be almost as invasive as bindweed but doesn't grow quite as quick.  It's harder to pull out though as the roots on these are very deep.  Combine that with clay soil and good luck to you!  If you let them grow they will suddenly pop-up everywhere and will try and crowd out everything else.  At least they don't wrap themselves around anything though.  I've read these are edible but I haven't tried them and probably won't, this one doesn't appeal to me.

4. Dandelions
You know dandelions, this one doesn't need any explanation.  I actually really like dandelions and if they didn't try and take over my urban farm I wouldn't pull them.  I try and wait to pull them until other flowers have bloomed so the bees can get food from them.  The greens are edible and the flowers can be used to make wine, hand balm, or probably about a million other useful things.  Try and utilize this one as you pull it!

5. Lamb's Quarters
The leaves are edible, tastes like spinach and are one of my favorite snacks while I'm in the urban farm, I can never get enough of them.  If you let them go to seed then your space will be covered with them so don't let them go to seed.  You can let them grow a little bit and enjoy their leaves but pull them once they're about knee high (if not sooner).  

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