Maintaining Weeds in the Garden
Not only are weeds unattractive, but they steal nutrients and irrigation from the plants you are growing in the vegetable garden. This will cause issues with plants because they need all the available nutrients and irrigation they can get in order to grow in the garden area. Another issue with weeds in the garden is they can be a hiding spot for pests that are eating at your plants in the garden. In order to maintain the weed pressures in the garden, we recommend growing cover crops. Cover crops contain different traits that can help improve soil structure, erosion control, and suppress weed/pest pressures. Some cover crops that are great for suppressing weeds is Buckwheat, Sunn Hemp, and Brown Top Millet. These are all warm-season crops so they work perfectly in the garden during the warmer months when it’s harder to grow other vegetables. We also prefer to use drip irrigation in the garden to reduce weed pressures. Instead of overhead watering, we use drip tape to accurately supply water to the plant roots directly. This will decrease unnecessary watering where plants do not need it like between rows and along the edge of the garden area. To remove the weeds from within the rows and between plants we prefer to use our Push Pull Hoe. The push pull allows you to effectively remove deeply rooted weeds close to the plants and drip tape irrigation without damaging the vegetable garden. To properly eliminate weed pressures in the garden using cover crops, drip irrigation, and proper tools will help destroy these damaging weeds from causing several problems in the vegetable garden.
Morning Glory Weed
On this week’s episode, Travis talks about the most dangerous weed in the vegetable garden. The invasive Morning Glory weed is a warm-season weed and typically develops during the harsh warmer months. When drip tape is buried in the garden, we can find this weed in between our plants because they prefer moist soil. The vining weed will crawl along the ground and strangle the plants by climbing all over them leaving many problems in the vegetable garden. If the morning glory weed is left to mature in the garden, it will start to produce funnel-shaped flowers which will eventually produce seeds. When these seeds produce they can persist for up to 20 years in the soil and will allow the morning glory to cause a dangerous weed problem in the garden for a long time. This dangerous weed can be found crawling all over your squash or okra plants. However, the worst place to obtain morning glory weed is in the sweet potato plants. Due to the morning glory weeds looking extremely similar to sweet potato leaves it can be difficult to determine the difference between the two in the vegetable garden. Travis explains a couple of easy ways to disguise between the two. The first difference between the sweet potato plants and the morning glory weed is the shape of the leaves. The sweet potato plant has little incisions along the side of the leaf. While the morning glory weed is smooth around the leaf. Another indicator is morning glory weed is not as thick as the sweet potato stem in the vegetable garden. So the sweet potato stems are going to be thicker and more robust than the weed stem. Overall, if you see more of a rounded leaf and thin stems you can determine that it is apart of the morning glory weed and it needs to be removed from the garden before it causes serious problems.