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Weeds growing instead of plants

Posted by wanitto none (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 27, 14 at 7:29

I am growing spring onions, lettuce and peas. The first sprouts have yet to emerge, but there are loads of little green things growing around. I've attached a picture. I can't tell whether I should remove them or not. This picture is the spring onion section. I think I can see a spring onion sprouting on the bottom right of the picture.

This post was edited by wanitto on Thu, Mar 27, 14 at 7:50


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

The fresh green thing bottom right is not an onion because it has two seed leaves. Your onions will only have one. Are you sure this is the onion patch? Some of those shoots could be lettuce. If you are not familiar with the weed seedlings in your area I would leave these until you can id either them or your vegetables. Did you scatter the seeds? For future reference if you sow in rows it is easier to see where they are and remove anything not growing in a row.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Yes, this is true that weeds growing instead of plants and weeds are very harmful for under water animals and wildlife too. I know about Jenson Lake Mower tool which is efficient and easy to use. It does not use any chemical to remove weeds.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

This was definitely the spring onion patch. And I did plant them in rows. Over the sunny weekend, my weeds have been doing great and are the most successful crop I've ever grown.

The peas in another row have also appeared out of the ground, and I've started the process of de-weeding that section.

As for ID-ing them, I can tell you that they are EVERYWHERE. That might give a clue.

I've attached some more pictures. The close-ups are of the spring onion patch again with something green I suspect of being an onion. The overall view is (from left to right) onions, lettuce and peas.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

The onion section again.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

And the entire thing, with, as stated, onions, lettuce and peas. (I couldn't figure out how to post multiple photos).


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

What was there last year?


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Good work on sowing in rows. There is a variety of seedlings visible. I think I can see the ghostly outline of a row in the left hand section. You said that's the onion section but I'm pretty sure I can see some lettuce there. I'd wait just a bit longer until more lettuce is clearly identifiable. I also see something which looks like beetroot or something else in the same family such as chard or orach. And possibly something in the Apiaceae too, like parsley or dill. Did you have any of those there last year? Or nearby?

You have time before the weeds are problematic so I'd still recommend waiting a bit to start weeding.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Wow. All those things are very possible. Nobody tended the garden last year, but two years ago we had radish, carrot, spinach, onion, 2 different types of lettuce, rucola and anis.
Nice skill. Are any of those spottable in the above pictures?
Thanks for the heads up. I suppose I'll wait until my stuff starts to grow, I'm just worried that the weed roots get so deep they can't be pulled out. Also, once the plants appear, I think i'll cover the surrounding areas with something. Is that wise?


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

I know that in the US mulch is the thing but personally, in my climate, I do not cover the surrounding soil with anything. Weeding is not a one time action. You need to keep at it all the time. Once the rows are visible I hoe regularly with a Dutch hoe when the weather is dry.

Regarding the seedlings I can see. The ones I said might be dill could be anise - same family. There are a lot which could be Rucola - I call it wild rocket and it is a vigorous self seeder. That would be the majority of the little oval green leaved ones. I wouldn't call it a weed - I'd call it a free gift. I don't see any carrot or onion but that is not surprising as they would have had to flower in their 2nd year to be growing now. I don't see any radish.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Wow. All those things are very possible. Nobody tended the garden last year, but two years ago we had radish, carrot, spinach, onion, 2 different types of lettuce, rucola and anis.
Nice skill. Are any of those spottable in the above pictures?
Thanks for the heads up. I suppose I'll wait until my stuff starts to grow, I'm just worried that the weed roots get so deep they can't be pulled out. Also, once the plants appear, I think i'll cover the surrounding areas with something. Is that wise?


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Why am I getting a feeling of deja vu?


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Research "stale beds". It will help avoid this problem next year. Then, as a graduate course, read Walter's book "Weeds", to progress toward understanding that the types of weeds flourishing are a story about soil and what the gardener has and hasn't done.

In general, though, as Flora said, you need to learn what the weeds and crops look like at very early stages. That is gardening 101.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Excellent point, PN, the kinds of weeds flourishing are often a sign of the condition of the soil.

Aside from some tree sprouts and a small number non-woody weeds, which can dig in surprisingly strongly within a couple weeks, most of this years' sprouts should come out easily, even if it takes a month or two to decide to pull it. Doubtful it will take that long to separate veggies from weeds, people (who aren't me) know veggies WELL. When stuff has grown enough to look different, put more pics (if image searches for the sprouts in question don't give you conclusive visual info.)

If it feels like a just-realized-it's-a-big-weed is going to break instead of pull up from the roots, loosening the soil by digging next to it and prying it up can help ensure that doesn't happen. It's annoying to have to 'kill' something twice, so easier to put slightly more effort in the first time.

With or without mulch, pulling unwanted sprouts is necessary. Like said, after a few years, you'll recognize stuff easily, usually it's the same old stuff, sprouting at the same times every year.

I think mulch gets a little too much hype about preventing weeds, and if that were the only reason for it, I'd have given up after the first year since it's not going to be efficient enough at this job for any garden to remain weed-free. When I do veggies, they're interspersed with ornamental plants in 'everything beds' where the ground is only disturbed to add new plants, not in a tilled garden area, where mulching would be awkward, for sure. Mulch isn't desirable or necessary in all situations, for sure.

Sometimes I wish I could tolerate (visually) rows, it IS easier to know what's sprouting if it's in a row. (And I'm surprised some kind of weeds haven't developed the ability to sprout in rows, they're sneaky!!)

After disturbing the ground a few times, for those who wish to do so periodically, *and* making sure weeds aren't permitted to drop new crops of seeds, the numbers should drop as the existing seeds in the soil are used up (sprouted, then pulled by you.) Overhanging trees and/or nearby shrubs can be vectors for new seed deposits, dropping their own, and wherever birds sit above or adjacent to a gardened spot. Other critters move seeds around as well, especially squirrels. The wind can also blow many kinds of seeds into a gardened area, hence the never-ending weeding.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Oops. I don't know why my previous message got reposted I meant to write something else.

Thanks for your replies. All very insightful.

Anyway, you were, of course, very right about the lettuce (I ignored advice to put signs to identify my plants). It's growing well in the left row and i've started weeding around it. The leaves are slightly lighter green than the rest, which makes it easy to identify. And if anything interesting is growing from those weeds, I'll get them from the middle row, where I have yet to see any spring onion sprouts (there has unfortunately been one frosty morning since I sowed them and I suspect that to be the reason). I'm putting up a picture of that middle row, and one overall picture (for a complete picture).

Weed seeds: how soon do the weeds starting creating seeds? I would have thought they needed to be mature. I know I'll have that problem anyway because there's all sorts of random things growing in other parts of the garden. I also understand some grow from a broken root, any chance of knowing for sure if I have any of those?

On the weed prevention aspect, I understand that it's a continuous effort. It seems to me that you aren't too pro-mulching. How about covering the areas around the plants with some plastic covering? as you can see from the pictures, I have planks set up for my rows and even though the weeds grow underneath the planks, they are really suffering and have not produced any green leaves. I would imagine mulching or plastic-covering would have much the same effect. Considering that I'm completely new to this, I'm going to ask for a firm yes or no; because decision-making ain't my thing (unless a significant amount of money is involved, of course, then I might reconsider a 'yes'. But I think it's cheap anyway)

As for the stale bed: thanks. I'll keep that in mind for the next time. I'm actually trying out different types of gardening: in the ground, raised bed, pots and mini greenhouse. (all in miniature... my garden isn't that big). If you like I'll tell you which is the most successful... but I'm sure you already know the answer to that and there's no areal way of comparing since I'm growing different things in each.

To recap:
Thanks for the advice.
If possible, identification in the middle row. I honestly only see two different types of weeds growing. I've pulled out the two most well-developed ones and attached a picture.
And mulching/plastic-covering: a final yes or no?

THANK YOU!

This post was edited by wanitto on Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 12:42


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Overall. Might be useless, but, personally, I like to see illustrated forum posts.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

And finally, the two most prominent 'weeds' in this garden.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Yes, that's helpful. Identical plants in a row are those you planted, the appeal of the row scheme, no doubt! Also easy to tend, have a lot in a small area, I'm not anti-row, just not what I want.

"Weed seeds: how soon do the weeds starting creating seeds? I would have thought they needed to be mature. "
Yes, to drop new seeds, there must first be flowers. Flowers are often what a gardener is waiting for, to ID the plant. When they show up, it's a no brainer if you want to keep it or not. The next time you see that kind of sprout, you'll have mental images of its' development from sprout to flowering plant.

"I know I'll have that problem anyway because there's all sorts of random things growing in other parts of the garden."
When you see the flowers... Inspect closely/often. Many plants are designated as weeds because they have tiny/insignificant flowers.

"I also understand some grow from a broken root, any chance of knowing for sure if I have any of those?"
Everything in your pics looks like new sprouts from seeds.

"It seems to me that you aren't too pro-mulching."
If you is me, I'm a mulcher, but I do know that there are types/methods of gardening where a permanent mulch doesn't come into play. I like the mulch for its' visual separation of bed from lawn, remedial ability to keep weeds sprouts to a lower level, the tilth and fertility organic mulch can add to soil over time, and most importantly, ability to moderate moisture levels in both times of drought and downpour. This is because the ability for moisture (and roots) to move freely through soil covered with mulch for a few years is greatly increased.

I used to buy mulch until I realized that's not necessary. I can add cut grass, leaves, yard trimmings, kitchen scraps, pine needles, whatever will turn brown and mulchy looking in a day or two, to beds whenever these materials show up. And of course, there's compost from a bin occasionally, in which anything not suitable to dump on the ground in a suburban yard goes to become more mulchy looking, *then* put on the ground. I consider mulching similar to weeding, I'm always pulling unwanted sprouts on sight, and adding some kind of organic material to the surface.

Those who don't use mulch have their own reasons and methods. It is even debatable if what I'm doing is mulching. It could also be labeled sheet composting. There's no one right way to do anything regarding gardening, even the basics like mulching.

A temporary mulch (in that it will disappear within a growing season) might help you in the garden in this pic. Straw is often used for this purpose, or grass. When you mow, as long as you've done that before the grass is making its' seeds, you can pick up the path boards, line that area with the cut grass from the mower bag, put boards back on it. This will help cover/smash the weeds. Any that are vigorous enough to keep going, pull. As it decomposes, it will also add nitrogen to the soil in the bed, slowly, in a form the plants can readily use.

"How about covering the areas around the plants with some plastic covering?"
The above would be extremely preferable by adding something to the soil, and not creating a dead zone.

If you'd like to delve into the why, I'm a huge fan of the brief lecture below. I'm not sure how easily digestible it is to someone so new, but if you're interested in watching it, I'd love to hear what you thought. I don't think it has much jargon, but impossible to watch from a newbie perspective.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brief lecture about soil microbiology


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Good work on defining the lettuce row. Still no onion seedlings visible though, I'm afraid. They will be very distinctive. They come up bent like green hair pins.

You asked for a firm 'yes' or 'no' regarding covering the ground with black plastic. My personal answer is 'no'. It is visually horrible, stops air getting to the soil and in my climate just provides a home for slugs and snails. I'd remove the planks for the same reasons. But, I am afraid, in gardening there is often a range of techniques which suit different people. So as you gain experience you'll have to choose for yourself.

Do you own a hoe? If not I would highly recommend getting a Dutch hoe. On warm dry days just scuffle alongside the rows. This will undercut weeds and they will die on the surface. On a bed that size it will take about 2 minutes to do the whole thing. Even hand weeding such a tiny bed wouldn't take more than ten. The idea is to deplete the weed seed store which is in the soil.


Obviously, I do not know the kinds of weeds you are likely to have in your garden because I don't live in your area, or even in the US. But If Ragwort, Senecio jacobaea, is a weed species in your region the plant on the left above could be it.

Now you need to amend your heading: Weeds growing but vegetables growing too!

Here is a link that might be useful: Dutch hoe


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Weeds growing but vegetables growing too!!

  • Posted by wanitto The Netherlands (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 7, 14 at 14:05

Thanks for the speedy replies, floral_uk and purepleinopp!
Shame about the onions. Do you think they still have a chance to grow? I sowed them around 3-4 weeks ago.

So, following your advice, I will NOT cover it in plastic. Good to know. I'll probably mulch once I know for sure what the weeds are (if they're tasty and edible or not), but I don't have anything in my garden that's good for this purpose. The local shop sells cacao bean skin, and some bark. Would either of those do? The packaging sells it as 'decoration'.
That video: interesting indeed and not difficult to understand at all. I presume the lesson is: keep it natural.

Floral_uk, if as your name suggests you are in the UK, we live in similar climates... Does indeed look like a cool tool to have, but I would worry about hoeing through some of the plant roots! I'll look out for those warm and dry days anyway, if ever they come (or have they? Soil's been pretty moist constantly).
That website lists a number of 'perennial weeds' hosted by this garden (nettles, couchgrass and dandelions). Also, I've seen all the weeds in this garden in london before. There is something growing around that looks like ragwort, but I'm not sure. Should I post a picture here, or is the appropriate place the 'identification' page?

Hand weeding in 10! no way. I spent a couple of hours on the right row. But maybe I was being too thorough. I was trying to uproot all the sprouts and throw them away. Wrong?


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

wanitto - I had no idea you were in the Netherlands. On your first post your location was given as US.

I really do recommend you get a hoe - there is little danger of hoeing through your plants if you are careful and hoe beside the rows. Relax - you will soon get the hang of it and it will save you hours of hand weeding. (You will have to do that too, up close to the plants.)

In the US they appear to be mulch mad but in our kind of climate mulch is optional - we don't get burning sun and we have sufficient rain. I certainly wouldn't bother actually spending money on it. You can use grass clippings or dried leaves if you must mulch. I mulch between permanent plantings (using home made compost) and also in the vegetable garden around mature plants like beans and brassicas. But I never mulch seedlings or young plants because I find it harbours slugs and snails.

Now I know where you are I think you do have Ragwort.
I would also advise you to talk to locals. The Dutch are great vegetable growers - some of their allotments are works of art.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

>> was trying to uproot all the sprouts and throw them away. Wrong?<<
Hi im brand new to gardening myself but I think if you use the hoe you simply cut through to separate the stems from the roots of the unwanted seedlings and you leave it in your bed to rot and provide nutrients for your wanted seedlings. Some of my weeds in my garden however are mugwort and I'm unclear on weather I'm making things worse for myself or not. But anyway I wanted to address the "throw away" portion of your statement. No need to throw them away. I think.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

I sometimes throw the bigger weeds into the compost bin (as long as it has no seeds). But for weed seedlings, if I recognize them early enough and take them out, they can stay in the garden. However, be cautious of too much detritus in the area because it then may harbor bugs, snails, ants, etc

Even among my potted plants, I sometimes don't detect ants until I see that big pile of dirt at the holes of the pot.


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Changed name, same weeds

Hi
Thanks for the replies.
I've posted a picture with the grown weeds in that middle patch. What did they turn out to be?


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

L to R: Ragwort, Chickweed, Persicaria. ie Senecio jacobaea, Stellaria media, Polygonum maculosa aka P. persicaria.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Good fodder for the compost pile!


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

Thanks again to all of you! I was hoping for something edible. I suppose I could make some sort of tea out of them, but I'm pulling them and I'll try the onions again or something. Here's a picture of the magnificence of my weeds plantation.


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RE: Weeds growing instead of plants

That IS a magnificent crop, I would definitely put all of those sprouts that are unwanted in compost.

Once the existing seed bank is exhausted, it would be extremely unlikely to see a repeat of this, unless you let more unwanted plants make and drop more seeds. Sounds like you're 'on it,' and that's not gonna happen. An amazing crop of *something* is always likely the first time a 'new' area is gardened.

At this tender phase, it would be easy to kill this whole area with cardboard/newspaper, if you find that more appealing than pulling and don't mind waiting a few weeks for this stuff to die. Either way, good luck fighting the good fight!


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