Weeds are a part of life, not just with gardening, but all aspects of life. We bet you’ve dealt with some weedy people, or a weedy job or maybe a weed of a teacher or boss.

It’s All About Context

The funny thing about weeds is that they are context dependent. When it comes to farming, weeds are defined as plants that are growing where you don’t want them. I guess even our peonies and hydrangeas could be weeds.

At Blue Gables Farm, we spend a lot of time weeding our flowers. We plant seeds and seedlings in small circles burned through landscape fabric that are designed to control weeds. Nevertheless, weeds manage to poke through the holes next to our flowers and thrive. Sometimes they choke out our flowers and diminish our crop. In some instances, they kill our flowers before they bloom.

Weed on the Second Day After a Rain

When you pull weeds, you want to get the roots so that the plant can’t grow back. When the soil is dry, it’s hard to pull a weed, roots and all. The weeds’ stems tend to get a little more brittle when they are dryer and the ground is a little less likely to give up roots. We have found the most success on the second day after a soaking rain. The first day after a rain can be too wet and muddy, so we wait a day longer to let the ground dry some before tackling the weeds.

Buttercups, Thistle and Mile-A-Minute

When we think of context, we think of buttercups. Buttercups are the most prolific weed we face. They grow like crazy in our flower field. Some people love the look of buttercups – they do have pretty, delicate yellow flowers that blanket lawns and fields in the early spring. Despite, their blooms, we see them as a cancer. We have so many growing in our garden that we are tempted to change the name of our place to “Buttercup Acres!” We pulled buttercups from our Iceland Poppies at least 6 times this spring. It’s a never-ending task it seems. In fact, it needs to be done again right now!

At least buttercups have pretty flowers. Thistle has no redeeming qualities. We can’t imagine a context where thistle would be desirable. It has deep roots, prickly thorns and ugly leaves. It must serve some purpose in nature, but we don’t care what it is. A good thistle is a dead thistle!

Mile-a-Minute is a new weed to us this year. Oh, my gosh, does that stuff spread fast! We know how it got its name. It can grow 6 inches in a day. It has a “sticky” vine and heart-shaped leaves. It tends to grow up through and around plants and chokes them off. If you don’t act fast to pull Mile-a-Minute, you may have to resort to pulling your flower and the rogue vine together and discarding the whole, tangled mess.

And don’t get us started on Bind Weed. That stuff was invented by Lucifer.

Some People Like Weeding

We recently met a woman who said she likes weeding so much she keeps a root fork in her pickup truck “because you never know when you might encounter a nasty weed that you want to pull.” God bless her! We’re not like you, Suzanne, but we’re glad people like you exist. Please feel free to weed in our garden until your heart’s content.

Remember, it’s all about context.