Once again, I’m using some of my grandparents’ garden space this year. Only this time instead of flowers, I’m growing: tomatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant, cantaloupe, and a cucumber. It was only going to be a “small” garden this year. And, compared to my grandpa’s side, I guess it is.
Also, compared to my grandpa’s side, it is a disaster. I planted it, watered it, weeded it once, and then left town for work. When I got back – and finally got around to going out to check on my little plants – the weeds had completely taken over my little section.
Now, as a weed science research technician, I spend a lot of time thinking about weeds, working with weeds, and killing weeds. I appreciate them. I love to hate them. But with all of that, you’d think I could keep my garden weed-free. At work we like to joke that if you’d like to find an abundance of weeds, just go to the house of a weed scientist. Unfortunately, in this case, it is all too true.
It’s not that I don’t understand the importance of maintaining a weed free garden – believe me, I do – it’s just that I’m really good at coming up with excuses this summer for why I haven’t been out to weed.
Like: it’s hot. And, I’m pregnant. I think those two cover it.
But, I’m here to tell you to not be like me! Not only do they make a garden look messy, but here are a few more reasons for why the weeds really are that bad:
- they compete with your crops for water, nutrients, sunlight, and space (and crops like my poor onions are pretty poor competitors) which can lead to reduced harvests
- they can harbor diseases that can then spread to your crops
- they can harbor insects that can then move on to chew up your crops
- they are notoriously good seed producers – and will just keep perpetuating themselves if left unchecked
So, even though it’s hot, and even though I’m pregnant, I will get out there more often (if even only ever so slightly) to keep my vegetable garden happy and the weeds at bay.