The right thing to do to a weed is to get it out of the home vegetable garden as quickly as possible, and the best time to do this is when the weed is small and the soil is moist. After a rain is the ideal time to weed your vegetable garden – everything looks and smells refreshed and the weeds come out of the ground easily with less risk of disturbing nearby plants. If the soil is dry and hard, and the weed is mature, you may need to dig around it with a trowel before pulling the weed out.
Remember that old saying, “seeds one year, weeds seven years.” You can prevent many future weed problems by never allowing a weed to develop seeds. When you don’t have time to weed your vegetable garden, just snap off seed heads – good weed-prevention insurance.
However, another saying goes, “if you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em”. I think we are all aware that a number of weeds and wild flowers have edible parts, but you have to know what you’re eating – some are extremely poisonous. Sometimes, only parts of these weeds and wild flowers can be safely consumed by us, so check for more information whenever and wherever you can as a precaution.
Blackberries or dogbomb, Burdock, Cattails,Chicory (a spice in your Local grocery store), Dandelions (not only for Dandelion Wine!), Japanese Knotweed, Lamb’s Quarters, Plantain, and Purslane.
The above names are just a few! If you research this topic, you will find many more.
I have seen people collecting these weeds (wild flowers) and often wondered what they do with them until someone told me that they are wonderful to eat!
Some others that are edible are chickweed, kudzu, red clover, sheep sorrel, shepherd’s purse, sweet violet, Virginia strawberry and one last one I want to mention is the wild rose.
Admittedly, your compost bin will be a bit emptier, but it might be worth leaving a few of these edible plants in a specific area for your eating enjoyment during the summer months – summer is short, so the pickings are very seasonal!
For those pesky weeds that are not edible, you may want to try two organic products to aid you in getting rid of these home vegetable gardener’s annoying pests. The first product is Superfast Weed & Grass Killer (a natural, fatty acid-based product that kills annual weeds) which kills annual weeds when they are tiny. But be aware that this product works only on young plants and it kills just the top of the plant so it’s not effective against perennial weeds.
I use maize gluten meal (the by-product of corn syrup manufacture) on crabgrass.
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I spread this on my lawn in the early spring preventing feeder roots from developing. This cuts the weeds in my home vegetable garden down drastically.
Always keep in mind that plants growing close together in the flower border or vegetable garden produce a canopy of leaves that reduces weed seed germination and weed growth.
The best all-around preventive for weeds in your vegetable garden is thick organic mulch. Always remember it’s easier to prevent weeds from moving into your garden than it is to banish them once they’ve taken hold.
Are you planning on researching the edible weeds to add a touch of color and distinctive flavor to your table this growing season?