* Where do your garden weeds come from?
* Learn about your weed's killer instinct,
* Distinguish aggressive weeds from beautiful wild flowers.
Are your garden weeds merely plants in the wrong place like a few extra seedlings? Or do you think of 'weeds' like a plant species - daisies, roses, beans and... weeds? Is one gardener's weed really another gardener's delight? Find out more here...
The usual garden weeds show up in a range of plant families but many of them have one distinctive characteristic in common - an opportunist survival strategy. Others are a nuisance because they are introduced aliens and have escaped from their natural controls e.g. Japanese Knotweed in the U.K. Others, typically herbs, are continually reintroduced by large numbers of seeds spread from gardens and wasteland.
Now determining how weeds become a nuisance gives you vital information to help prevent them taking over your garden.
The range of many of today's weed plants was in earlier times probably limited to disturbed sites that occur after landslips, forest fires, overturned trees or coastal erosion. The weed problem arises now because gardening involves continually opening up the earth for sowing and planting.
So some things gardeners do make the weed problem worse, and this leads to reliance on weed killers. But organic gardeners use methods to really make it hard for garden weeds to grow in the first place -
more on intelligent weed control.
The fact is garden weeds love cultivated ground. Their collective vigour seems to overpower the plants that gardeners want to grow. That's partly because our cultivated plants are bred to make singularly robust specimens. And we specially need our plants to reach their full potential for our enjoyment.
Controlling Weeds: Without Using Chemicals (Organic Handbook)
Weeds like to be left to flower and spread their seeds,
some weeds produce several generations in one year,
Perennial weeds love to be chopped up occasionally,
broken stems and roots grow again into more plants,
But thorough and persistent weeding pays off
Weeds Or Nature
You should also distinguish weeds from the natural flora that grows in the settled landscape around about. By that I don't mean those derelict overgrown sites that have been abandoned from cultivation. But rather the natural fields, woods, riverbanks... There's precious little left in some towns and cities. And you'll find a wild flower patch can be a beautiful feature.
As an organic gardener you may want a conservation patch for weeds such as Nettles. These support the caterpillars of beautiful butterflies that are becoming increasingly rare. Nettles are perennials but easily contained with a fork - seed heads should be removed. Nettle leaves in spring and autumn are used to make tea.
Anything that helps to support a healthy population of preditors such as ladybirds, hoverflies, bats, shrews and hedgehogs will in turn help to control your garden pests.
Settling The Issue Of Weeds
Weeds are a particular problem on land that is continually being overturned - typically the vegetable patch. A settled landscape including spreading ground cover is easier to grow in the flower garden. But you can also
take advantage of mulch to smother weeds - this link shows different types and uses.
Fill The Space With Wild Flowers
But your best option is to sow native wild flower seed instead of permitting agricultural weeds. Wild flower meadows are very underused in today's gardens. They could effortlessly become a very attractive part of your garden.
Further information to help you put weeds in their place