After I published my last post, I realized I forgot to mention one more thing about weeds. Sometimes, we inadvertently plant them.
The past few years I’ve been putting straw on my veggie beds to keep the moisture in and keep the weeds down. This year, it backfired.
When buying/sourcing straw there are a couple of key things to keep in mind. First, you want straw, not hay… hay is for horses. Hay is green and food for animals. Straw is grain that has already been harvested and only the stalks are left to dry. Second, make sure the straw is “seed free”. In other words, no seeds mixed in with the stalks. We were told this load was “seed free or that there should be very few seeds in it” (red flag #1). We did notice a few seeds when we originally unloaded the straw (red flag #2), but since he said there would be “very few” I spread it out not paying attention to every piece of straw that hit the beds (foolish flag #3). Apparently I should have. After the 40 days and 40 nights of rain that we just had I went out to the garden today to find a little surprise. The straw is growing! Now, I not only have tomatoes, onions, peppers, kale, etc. I also have grain (I’ve yet to do plant ID on it or I’d be more specific) growing in-between the other plants. When I first saw the shoots I thought perhaps it was just a coincidence and some seeds had blown into the garden, gotten carried by the birds, what have you. That was until I looked at the small pile of straw I had yet to spread throughout my other veggie bed…
So, lesson learned. Be extremely cautious in the future. Seeds + water + sunlight = sprouts (whether you planted them there or not).
Oh, and another note about seeds and leaves that I omitted earlier. Not all seeds produce 2 leaves. Most do, and those that do are called “dicots” (di = two; cot = cotyledon/seed leaf), there is also a group of plants that only produce one leaf, they are called… you guessed it, “monocots” (mono = one; cot = cotyledon). Corn, grasses, grains and daylilies are all monocots and, as previously posted in Weeds and Leaves, plants are hard to ID by their seed leaves, even harder when they are monocots! I can pretty much guarantee I won’t be leaving these to see what they turn into though. Well, maybe. At least not in the bed between the other plants. Yeah, probably not.
Your humble, ever-learning gardener