Recent rains and warm temps means it is time to weed

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Spring is upon us, folks. I hope everyone rested over the winter break, because now it is time to get out there and weed the garden.

The warm overnight temperatures in the last month combined with recent rain made the garden explode with growth, as evidenced in the photo above. Several of the winter crops (broccoli, turnips, cilantro, etc.) decided it was time to bolt and are currently flowering.

I noticed today that many beneficial insects are active. Ladybugs crawled all over me as I weeded the garden of unwanted plants, leaving many of the flowering winter crops to feed the pollinators such as bees and to go to seed.

IMG_5381 Most of what I removed included Queen Anne’s Lace (pictured left) and some dandelions. All of it went to happy chickens.

Dandelions are edible and wonderful to harvest, especially the roots for tea. They happen to be gloriously plentiful in our front yard this year. So, I didn’t feel too terrible pulling the ones from the front flower bed and pitching the whole thing to chickens this time around.

The Queen Anne’s Lace was the most important plant to remove during today’s weeding therapy session. It is also edible (more info here), but I don’t plan on harvesting any for human consumption. We have more than enough greens and root vegetables that I enjoy eating much more. So, it had to go.

Left alone, this plant will take over a garden bed. The long taproot makes it hard to remove unless the soil is moist and loose. After a rain is my favorite time to go looking for the troublesome plant. Trying to weed them out during the hot, dry summer time is a nightmare.

Also, when Queen Anne’s Lace goes to seed, the seeds are troublesome and cling to clothes. The seeds seem to burrow deep in pet fur or into fabrics, which is both itchy and time consuming to remove.

If you do plan to eat this one, note that the roots smell a lot like carrots. Hemlock or fool’s parsley, which look similar and are poisonous, do not smell that way.

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