Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.

The year of the weeds

Posted by: Mary Jane Smetanka under Weeds Updated: August 5, 2013 - 10:29 AM

 

This ugly pile of what’s-its is the result of five minutes of weeding one of my perennial gardens. This year, I could weed almost every day and not catch up. It is the year of the weeds.
Lately the state Master Gardener email list has featured photos of mystery weeds that have popped up everywhere, and sympathetic responses from gardeners who say they’re never fought so many weeds in their gardens.
This year I’ve seen lots of familiar invaders, including lamb’s quarters, Virginia copperleaf, oxalis and deadly nightshade. At least they are relatively easy to pull up in wet soil. But I have some horrible and aggressive newcomers, too. Sow’s thistle seems to be everywhere. I found many feet of wild cucumber climbing a big ornamental grass just a week after I’d weeded that garden. Bindweed, too, has invaded, and I seem to be untangling it all over the place.
Where did this stuff come from?
Some of the Master Gardeners wondered if the heavy rains we had through June helped waken long-dormant weed seeds that were just waiting for the right conditions to sprout. Maybe winds or birds deposited the seeds from other locations. I have several volunteer milkweed plants in the gardens, and I have left them as a welcome addition to the perennial mix.
Ironically my primary adversary of recent years, creeping bellflower, seems to have slowed its invasion at this stage of the year but the other weeds have taken over. I guess the only thing to do is to keep patrolling the garden for five or ten minutes a day, and try to get these guys out before they all set seed and begin a new advance nex year.
Here’s a visual guide that will help you identify some the most common weeds in Minnesota.

www.extension.umn.edu/gardeninfo/weedid/index.html

How are you fighting this year’s invasion? Seen anything unusual in the garden?

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