Weeds are each farmers “nightmare” as they increase the competition of the nutrients in soil. A weed is a plant that grows in a place where it is unwanted. Weeds have the tendency of growing in your garden especially after addition of manure and start to choke your plant. They choke the plant due to the competition for resources such as space, sunshine, and nutrients. Weeds grow anywhere in the soil with a preference of the most fertile soil possible. The emphasis is on control of weeds rather than their elimination such as using the weeds as a source of food for your herbivore pets such as rabbits held in a clean and safe hutch; just begin by investing in some rabbit hutch plans. It is best to use organic methods of control rather than chemical herbicides due to the immense demerits such as missing the immense benefits of insects. It is best to use pest control methods such as traps like a wasp trap and then build a bug hotel to encourage a controlled number of beneficial insects.
The common weeds can be classified in three types of groups. The annual types of weeds have a lifespan of one year during which they spread the seeds and germinate. They can further be divided into two types; summer and winter types. Winter annuals grow in the late summer or fall, dominate in winter and grow actively in spring such as chickweed. Summer annuals take over in spring when they germinate and grow throughout summer and disappear in winter such as lambsquarters. The second type is the biennial type whose lifecycle involves two years of germination with the first years being for flower production, and then in the second year they produce seeds. The best example is garlic mustard and bull thistle. The third type is the perennial types that germinate each year producing long taproots and seeds. Examples are plantain, dandelions, and purple loosestrife.
Although each garden is unique, most of the weeds found in one garden will be found in another garden. Of course, there are some unique weeds mainly dependent on the crop grown in the garden, pH, and the mineral content. The main weeds that plague your garden are discussed below:
1. Crab Grass
Aliases: crowfoot grass, finger grass, pigeon grass, polishes millet
This super-fast-growing annual is the worst weed plaguing veggie gardens.
Yes, there is a way to win! Knowing how to spot crab grass is key. Study the crab grass illustration in the Image, and hoe or pull up the hand-like seed heads throughout summer. This weed is hard to deal with partly because it tends to wait for warm days to sprout, which is likely after you’ve finished your spring weeding and mulching routines and your crops are already coming up. When the weather turns hot, crab grass goes into overdrive, sending out long stems that grow so fast they may flower and go to seed before you even notice them among your carrots..
Sourced from: http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/pest-control/garden-weeds-zm0z11zsto.aspx
Quackgrass has distinctive clasping auricles that grasp the stem at the base of each leaf.
Quackgrass is a weed you should learn to recognize. If you have it on your farm, you will want to know where it is, contain it, and work hard to manage it. Quackgrass produces rhizomes, underground shoots that look like roots. These rhizomes spread quickly, up to 10 feet per year from the parent plant. Even when chopped into small pieces, each piece can grow into its own plant.
Weeds like quackgrass can quickly overtake your organic garden or field. However, once you know how it grows, it is possible to control it. If the infestation is not severe, regular hoeing or cultivation of the quackgrass can eliminate the plant. Try to remove the shoots before the fourth leaf develops—this is the point at which carbohydrates are transported back to replenish rhizome energy reserves.
Sourced from: http://extension.psu.edu/business/start-farming/vegetables/factsheets/creating-a-weed-management-plan-for-your-organic-farm
An annual that reproduces by seeds. It is characterized by its fleshly, red taproot. This weed appears in late spring or early summer and likes warm weather. Try to pull out this weed before it flowers.
To prevent weeds in the future, cover your garden plot with winter mulch, then until the garden shallowly in early spring. When you till you may bring up some pigweed seed so it's best to mulch again. Cover the soil with five layers of wet newspaper and cover that with 3-6 inches of mulch.
Pigweed can also be eaten! In June, the young leaves of amaranthus blitum or amaranth are abundant and should be eaten because of their high nutritional content. Vitamin-wise, these greens are packed like carrots and beets and can be delicious in a tossed salad. You can also cook them as you would spinach. Native Americans used the black seeds of this plant as a ground meal for baking.
There are two species of chickweed, one perennial and one annual. Mouse-ear chickweed is the perennial, which forms a dense, prostrate patch in lawns and gardens. Common chickweed, the annual, is more delicate in appearance, with leaves that are broad at the base and about half an inch long.
Common chickweed is easier to control. Both types have shallow roots, so they can often be removed by hoeing or hand-pulling. New plants can grow from broken pieces of mouse-ear rootstock, however, so make sure you remove the entire plant when using either method.
A healthy lawn can compete against mouse-ear chickweed if the grass is not mowed too short or too frequently. Watering the lawn deeply and infrequently will encourage the grass to grow deeper roots, which also can help it compete against chickweed. Water once every seven to ten days, and apply enough water so that it soaks six to eight inches into the ground.
Sourced from: http://www.almanac.com/content/common-garden-weeds
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