One of the main tasks that needs to be done in a garden is removing weeds from the garden. Weeds are any plant you did not put in the ground or are a different species than the ones you want.
How Do You Get Rid of Them?
Pull up one plant at a time. Gather all the leaves and stem of a plant into your hand, and grasp it near the roots with your fingers. Pull upward until the roots are out of the ground. Pound it against the ground lightly to put dirt back. If the stem breaks, dig up the roots with a shovel or wait for the weed to grow back. See our post on garden work for more info on removing weeds.
Why Should You Get Rid of Them?
As weeds get bigger, they can cast shadows on your plants, blocking sunlight. Weeds also use up the nutrients in the soil. Vine-like weeds can become tangled in your plants, and leave no room for your plants to grow.
What if the Weeds are Pretty or Edible?
In 2014, at first we kept weeds with nice flowers or that were edible. We transplanted lambsquarter, a relative of lettuce, to its own spot in the garden after finding it under other plants. A few weeks later, we had to remove the lambsquarter because it had become the size of a bush and was still growing. By then, it was too large to pull out of the ground, so we chopped through the stem with a shovel. We also kept morning glory plants for their flowers until they became covered in spider mite eggs!
However, you can keep some weeds. Multiple times, cherry tomato plants have sprouted in other beds from tomatoes animals had carried off and eaten. We transplanted these plants into the tomato beds. Sometimes we had more tomatoes, though the plants did not always survive transplanting. If we had not transplanted them or pulled them up, the tomato plants would have became larger than the plants in the beds we found them in. We also found a plant with flowers called moss rose which we were able to keep. The moss rose would have taken over the garden by growing horizontally if we had not moved it to a plastic cup. Months later, the moss rose is a small plant on a window sill that blooms over and over again with orange flowers.