The dirty secret about weeding: it never ends

The dirty secret about weeding, as Hudson Valley garden writer Margaret Roach put it in a New York Times piece back in the spring, is that it never ends.

“The most expert organic gardeners — those of us who eschew the use of chemicals — have no tricks to make weeds disappear. Vigilance is key, starting with the ability to recognize the earliest signs of infestation, including what the weed looks like as a seedling, and then acting quickly and repeatedly. Yes, we use mulch, perhaps with a layer of newsprint or cardboard beneath that might slow some opponents. But most of all, we weed.”

So it seems fitting to note the arrival of one that we struggle with at both Myers Middle School and Albany High School year after year. The plant in the accompanying picture, with the small tuft of yellow at the center of its flower, surrounded by white petals, is Galinsoga ciliate. And unless we do better than we usually do, we’ll soon be overrun by it.

As pests go, it’s not the worst. It’s easy to pull. But it spreads and spreads and spreads, mainly by making and dropping a million seeds. So please think of us when you’re considering where you might lend a hand. And remember, there are many ways to participate in and contribute to the Vegetable Project. Our lives will be better if we can keep up with removing the plant as flowers form, the biological step before making seeds.

–Bill Stoneman

Leave a Reply