วันเสาร์ที่ 13 กันยายน พ.ศ. 2551

Weeds in the Vegetable Garden

Identifying and Managing Unwanted Plants in the Veggie Patch


Handling weeds in the vegetable garden can be a real challenge, but with the right knowledge and the willingness to deal with them, weeds can be overcome!

A vegetable gardening season begins with the fervor of preparing a bed, sowing seeds and planting out seedlings. Once this initial hard work in the garden is done, the business of growing begins. In addition to edible vegetables, other less desirable plants are bound to make their appearance. Midsummer is indeed the season of the weed.

What is a Weed?
Weeds are defined in many ways, depending on where the definition is sought. Common knowledge dictates that a weed is simply a plant that grows where it is unwanted. For example, Queen Anne’s Lace grows in many gardens, and while some gardeners are pleased to have the lacy blooms adorn their garden, others find it a nuisance, treating like a weed by pulling it from the garden.

Alan Buckingham, author of Grow Vegetables (DK Books: London, 2008) writes, “Here’s an alarming statistic: it’s estimated that in every square yard (meter) of soil, there are probably 100,000 seeds. This is why regular weeding is inescapable.” In other words, as vegetable gardeners, we might as well accept that we will spend a good portion of every gardening season dealing with weeds.

The Importance of Weeding the Vegetable Garden
Staying on top of the unpleasant task of weeding the vegetable garden is important for several reasons.

Weeds are competition for valuable water resources your edible vegetables, herbs and flowers need. Many gardeners make the effort to conserve water by installing rain barrels to collect moisture, but it is a real shame when the weeds benefit from this effort.

Weeds absorb the nutrients in the soil that edible vegetable plants need.
Weeds crowd out other plants. This can promote dampness among the plants and cause conditions such as powdery mildew. Vegetable plants such as tomatoes and beans need space to sprawl. If the weeds get tall enough, they can actually shade the vegetable plants from the sunlight they crave.

Weeds provide a home for pests and diseases. For example, aphids, which love to feed on the sap in vegetable plant foliage, are attracted by plantain. Pulling plantain will help keep the aphids at bay.

Eradicating Weeds
Getting rid of annual and perennial weeds is an ongoing battle. Annual weeds are easier to contain if they are pulled regularly, and not allowed to go to seed. They can usually be controlled by using a hoe to cut the stems at the ground level. If time is limited, deadheading can also be helpful. Some common annual weeds include chickweed, purslane, ragweed and pigweed.

Perennial weeds, however, can be extremely difficult to eliminate from the garden without making use of chemical herbicides. These weeds can live for years, developing rather large and unwieldy root systems when left unattended. Even if they are pulled, because these weeds often spread by horizontal roots, if one small piece of the root or rhizome is left in the ground, the plant may sprout again. Common perennial weeds include dandelion, creeping thistle, field bindweed and quackgrass.

By identifying the weeds growing in the vegetable garden, and with a little elbow grease, proper methods for eradicating them can be undertaken, preventing damage and disease from affecting the crops growing there.


The copyright of the article Weeds in the Vegetable Garden in Vegetable Gardens is owned by Amy Urquhart. Permission to republish Weeds in the Vegetable Garden in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

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