Spring draws near, seed orders should arrive in the mail any time now and gardeners will soon have their hands in the soil, tilling, mixing and planting.
While it is yet a bit early for any outdoor gardening activities, it isn’t too early to begin thinking about how to deal with those pesky “weeds.” I say this tongue-in-cheek, because I make use of many of these wild plants that crop up in my garden beds.
I plan to address this topic more thoroughly in the future, but for now, let me ask readers to plumb the depths of their memories and try and recall just what weeds are present in their gardens. Of course this does not imply that any of you are not diligent in keeping neat and orderly garden beds. I only mean that every garden is subject to weed introductions through various means, including wind-blown seed and the incorporation of foreign matter (compost) in garden soil.
Once you recognize and perhaps even catalogue your weeds, then we can begin talking about managing them to their greatest potential. I purposely leave some young weeds alone in spring, so that they may grow to a useful size before hauling them out and planting my vegetables.
So yes, you can garden for cultivated vegetables and also, garden for useful wild plants. It’s just a question of balance. And for sure, once you become better acquainted with some of these wild plants you will probably become enamored of them, at which point they will no longer be “weeds.”