Weeds And Seeds

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Ways to conquer those unwanted or unknown plants from invading your gardens or yards Mizz Tizzy’s Weeds and Seeds, is a seed and gardening company that is serious about learning, and exploring, with curiosity, the process of growing in a Permacultural (Permanent Agriculture) also know as Forest Gardening techniques of old. Most of the vegetables we eat on a regular basis are cultivated adaptations from some older source. A good example is broccoli, which is the very same species of plant as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and kohlrabi. All of these were bred over time from a common ancestor. The modern tomato, even in its v

Got weeds? Remove them before they set seed.

Common mullein in its second year of growth. This seed head will disperse around 200,000 seeds. Photo by Rebecca Krans, MSU Extension.

Many gardeners are calling the Michigan State University Extension Lawn and Garden Hotline and uploading photos to our Ask an Expert resource wanting to know if what they’re trying to identify is a weed. A weed is a subjective human classification usually indicating a plant out of place, but identifying a plant you see as a problem is a great first step in finding the right solution for your yard or garden.

For help in identifying weeds, check out the MSU Weed Diagnostic resource for proper weed identification and management tactics, contact the Lawn and Garden Hotline at 888-678-3464 or upload your photos at Ask an Expert. Once you have properly identified what plant it is, then you can more efficiently decide on the best plan of attack. Read on to discover ways to outsmart these unwanted plants.

When do weeds flower?

It is always encouraging to hear a gardener’s “ah ha” moment when realizing weeds have specific life cycles, i.e., they mature or set seed at different times throughout the year. Some are summer annuals, winter annuals, biennials or perennials—review the “Spring blooming lawn and garden weeds” article from MSU Extension to understand this better. Determining a weed’s life cycle will help you manage them better and possibly prevent future occurrences. For example, if you can eliminate the weed prior to seed production or before seed dispersal, then you have made a great effort toward elimination.

Throughout the growing season, take notice of unwanted plants in your garden or yard and remove them immediately. After all, an amazing adaptation of weeds is that they produce many seeds. For example, one common mullein plant can produce at least 200,000 seeds, and one purslane plant can produce two million seeds! No wonder it may seem like you can never get rid of them. Many seeds can live for years within the soil in what is called the seed bank, so it is not only the current year but also past year’s practice that plays a role in how many weed seeds are present. For more reading, MSU research explains “Weed Seedbank Dynamics.”

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Weeds have multiple survival tactics

Once you have properly identified the weed, search out its different survival tactics. For example, not only will weeds produce many seeds, but they will also have different ways in which the seed may be carried or transported away from the original mother plant, resulting in less competition among seedlings, thus better survival rates.

Reproduction may also occur vegetatively for some, which means if you leave a portion of a root or rhizome or stolon (i.e., below and aboveground creeping stems, respectively) in contact with the ground, this part will continue to live and regrow. Dandelion, Canada thistle and creeping bentgrass, respectively, are examples with these survival tactics.

Do not dispose these vegetative parts in your compost pile, as they can resprout and be reintroduced back into your garden. Also, try to avoid placing any weed seeds back into your compost. Unless you are actively managing your pile at temperatures of greater than 140 degrees, they may survive and be reintroduced back into your garden.

Weeds have useful properties, too

Weeds can be frustrating, but by better understanding their specific life cycles and adaptations, you are better armed to defend your garden and landscape against them. Be mindful that many of what we term “weeds” were actually brought here because they had useful properties that served human civilization over time, such as food sources, nutrients and medicinal properties.

Weeds And Seeds

By maintaining good health in your gardens and planting the correct plants you will help to bring back many butterfly populations.

a gardening company that is serious about learning, and exploring, with curiosity, the process of growing in the “Forest Gardening,” (Permacultural – Permanent Agriculture) technique of old. These methods will help you make your gardens healthier, more productive, have greater pest control, and disease resistance. The amazing thing is that the plants will help each other, and also aid your soils. It applies to your flower, herb, and vegetable gardens. In fact they should be mixed together in some cases.

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Growing Edible Weeds

Most of the vegetables we eat on a regular basis are cultivated adaptations from some older source. A good example is broccoli, which is the very same species of plant as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and kohlrabi. All of these were bred over time from a common ancestor. The modern tomato, even in its various heirloom forms, is highly developed through generations of breeding from its original wild form. Plant breeding is in no way a bad thing — rather, it has given us a wealth of variety from a handful of sources. There are a minimum of 296 varieties of peas being grown for food in the world, and more than 4,000 types of potato.

One of the basic principles of cultivating good food crops is the removal of all plants that would compete for space, nutrients, light, and moisture: Weeds. These plants grow quickly and seem to spread like viruses. They can easily take over a neglected patch of soil in no time. But how many of these end up in the compost heap rather than the salad bowl? How many of these garden foes are actually edible, nutritious, versatile, and delicious? It turns out that lots of them are. Growing edible weeds can be easy and rewarding.

But why would a gardener knowingly plant a row of weed seeds? The main reason is that, like any other crop, a row of dandelions or chickweed can be nurtured and cultivated to produce better flavour, succulence, vigour, and nutrient density. Thinking of these plants as crops turns the tables. They can be pampered, watered, fertilized — even weeded. They can also be easily controlled when they are grown in this intentional, managed way.

Consider the following weedy plants as food crops, and try a couple in your next vegetable garden. Amazingly, all of these are available as certified organic seeds.

Chickweed – It even has the word ‘weed’ in its name! Packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein, this is one of the tastiest and most succulent of all the wild greens. Take three cuttings or more from each sowing or use it as a cover crop — it breaks down as quickly as buckwheat to enrich the soil. Add a handful to salads or try some in a sandwich. Chickweed has a very mild flavour, so it should only be cooked briefly, but it’s probably better raw. It grows very well in containers, too.

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Claytonia (Miner’s Lettuce) – Known also as Winter Purslane due to the succulence of its leaves and stems, this native west coast weed is actually sweet tasting, not tart like true purslane. It has such wonderful flavour that it really adds to salad mixes. Claytonia is quite cold hardy, which makes it one of the top candidates for winter harvest greens.

Dandelion – This plant hardly needs a description. Cultivated in good garden soil with a bit of balanced organic fertilizer, dandelions are delectable and nutritious. Eat the young leaves raw, or cook the mature leaves like spinach. Scatter the edible flower petals over salad, or collect the unopened buds (a lot of them are needed) for making dandelion wine. The bitter leaves are a rich source of iron and vitamins A, B1, B2, and C.

Goosefoot – A tall cousin of lamb’s quarters, this fast growing plant has large edible leaves that taste great and are high in fibre. Use the young, mineral-rich, magenta-tipped leaves raw in salad mixes. Save some of the high protein seeds for making bread or feeding wild birds. Harvest thoroughly, as Giant Goosefoot can reach 2m (6’) tall or more.

Huauzontle – A close cousin of Goosefoot! The close relationship between this ancient meso-American crop and quinoa are obvious as soon as it blooms. The seed head that follows produces bowls full of edible grains, but without the bitter saponin coating found on quinoa seeds. The immature leaves of huauzaontle are also edible.

Orach – This little known relative of quinoa produces bright fuchsia, succulent, tasty leaves unlike any other salad leaf. Its subtle, salty flavour earns it the colloquial name Saltbush . The eye-catching leaves simply pop in salad mixes. This variety is descended from wild mountain spinach originally growing in Montana.

Purslane – This hot weather plant produces thick, succulent, green leaves that add a light lemony crunch to salads. Cultivated purslane eaves are much larger than the wild type and the plant grows upright, not prostrate. It contains more Omega-3 fatty acids than any other vegetable. It can be cut almost to the ground, but keep two leaves at the base for re-growth.

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