Return to the Cottage Garden Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Re-seeding: how do you know its not a weed?

Posted by mandolls 4 (My Page) on
Mon, May 9, 11 at 6:40

So.............Having spent the last couple of months only thinking about gardening and reading in this forum, I am now out there weeding and planting!.

Every time I read "these re-seed themselves beautifully" - I think "hmmmm, why doesnt anything re-seed in my garden?"

Well yesterday I spent all day in my front bed, weeding, moving things around, and planting a few seedlings, and realized that I am such a voracious weeder in the spring, that its possible that things do re-seed, and I just pull them all up!.

So please tell me - how can you distinguish the desired volunteers from the undesired? I grew Nigella last year. It is supposed to re-seed, but that area in the bed is all turned over and replanted now. Should I be only pulling things I can identify?

Your advice is appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Re-seeding: how do you know its not a weed?

Generally, it is pretty easy to tell the weeds from the plants you want to keep. If it pulls out easily & there are only 1 or 2, you didn't want to pull that out. If it is hard to pull up & there are a gajillion around, it is definitely a weed.
Nigella is a bit of an exception, there will probaby be a lot of these, although still easy to pull :) They are very ferny looking & easy to ID.
I think you just learn from experience, I've pulled out many, many that I instantly regretted. I've left many more to grow that I later realized were weeds.
There are a lot of seedling pictures at this site, both of "plants" and weeds,
http://theseedsite.co.uk/seedlings.html


 o
RE: Re-seeding: how do you know its not a weed?

It comes with experience. The nigella looks very much like larkspur. Usually by the time the plant get 2 or 3 leaves you will be able to tell. Most likely you could find a web site that show different seedlings.


 o
RE: Re-seeding: how do you know its not a weed?

I'm afraid there's no trick to it. You'll just learn as you go along. Maybe start with looking up a few of your most common 'weeds' and work from there. The Name that Plant Forum here on GW is a good place to get your mysteries identified.


 o
RE: Re-seeding: how do you know its not a weed?

Thanks - I think that the problem is that I am pulling things (weeds or not) when only the cotyledon is up. Maybe I'll try to wait until there are actual leaves.

I did get excited a few days ago when I spotted what I thought were Hellebore seedlings, there were small clusters of them directly next to a couple of the hellebores, however when I started to see the same thing on the other side of the yard I realized they were un-invited volunteers.

The only thing that I know has reseeded in my yard is a primrose japonica, I have had it for 5 years and it has produced one seedling. Last year I tried saving the seeds and winter sowed them but noting has popped up yet.


 o
RE: Re-seeding: how do you know its not a weed?

Many years ago when I was very busy with a new business my DH helped me by weeding the garden. I later wondered (for a moment) why none of my prolific self-seeders had seedlings. Of course he didn't know a weed from a perennial seedling so pulled everything that was small. He did learn eventually which weeds we have in our garden and only pulled those.

Only this morning I found a mass of seedlings which I wondered about. Decided they are forget-me-nots so transplanted them as a border. Sure hope I'm right and they are not some weed I've forgotten about! :-D

If you take lots of pics of your garden you will know the area the self-seeders were in and will know which potential seedlings might be in each area. Or you could map your garden altho I find pics easier.


 o
RE: Re-seeding: how do you know its not a weed?

flora's advise is spot on. It's how I ID the weeds among the many seeds I put in the yard. Otherwise, you can clear a bed and re-seed each year. This way, you can make sure weeds don't grow among your plants.

In my area i concentrate on dandelions and remove them as soon as I see them.


 o
RE: Re-seeding: how do you know its not a weed?

"If in doubt, let it grow" is my motto. After years of pulling weeds that I am now certain included desired seedlings I have learned to identify most of the seedlings. Those that I am unsure of are left to develop until another gardener identifies it for me or until it blooms. Once it blooms it becomes quite clear if it is something that I want or not. If not, I cut the bloom before it goes to seed and dig the plant out.


 o
RE: Re-seeding: how do you know its not a weed?

Mandolls, I agree, with experience it gets easier. But all of us have the same problem identifying. I find if I mark off an area that I've put seeds in, and then place a plant marker of some kind there, then I am watching for the seedlings. Use the internet to look up the seedlings of the seeds you have sown. Over time, there will be certain weeds that thrive in your area, and you will be able to identify them. If you have cosmos, for example, and you want them to re-seed, then look up cosmos seedlings and be watching for those. Good luck.


 o
RE: Re-seeding: how do you know its not a weed?

I was thinking about this post a little earlier while I was pulling a few weeds...paraphrasing ngraham, if it is tough to pull it is a weed, easy, a flower. So true!
kay


 o
RE: Re-seeding: how do you know its not a weed?

If in doubt, I let it grow until I see a bloom. Then, I usually know if it is friend or foe. I have a lot of fall-sown and self-sown plants. If you can mark a "sample" of each seed in one section, it helps. I've not tried that to great detail--only when I plant something that I think is extra special.

The winter sowing forum also has some great photos (see link) to help ID plants.

Cameron

Here is a link that might be useful: winter sowing forum pics


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Cottage Garden Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here