Weeds, weeds, weeds!

DSC_0001 smI was surveying the vegetable garden the other day, contemplating the winter’s crop of weeds. It’s not a pastime calculated to bring out good thoughts.

I have identified 57 weed species in the garden. Most of the weeds are not a big problem. Nettles, while irritating, are easily removed (and they’re food plants for two lovely native butterflies, so that’s okay). Clover, difficult to remove from around vegetables, is easily hoed out of a bare garden. Dock and mallow, even with their long taproots, come up without difficulty in the soft wet soil of spring. California thistles…well, I can at least pretend, at this time of year, that I’m getting them out deep enough that they won’t just resprout.

Then there’s twitch (couch grass). Twitch is the bane of my existence, and gains ground all winter. It creeps in from the edges of the garden and seeds itself into the middle. It is impossible to remove from the packed earth of the paths, and even the smallest piece of a runner left in the ground (or even on the surface) will resprout.

And twitch isn’t something you can just ignore, like shepherd’s purse or henbit. If it goes unchecked, it can wreak havoc in the garden. It sucks moisture, and can sprout thick as the hair on a dog’s back overnight, smothering even good-sized vegetables.

One year, I ignored twitch in the potato bed, thinking that the potatoes would shade it out. I only realised my error when I harvested the potatoes. They were shot through with twitch roots!

My annual struggle with twitch will start soon—probably this coming weekend. I will be sharpening my tools in preparation for the battle.

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