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How does one selectively weed?

 
dan long
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Dandelions, purslane, lambs quarter, sorrel, thistle, mullein, and other useful "weeds"; they're certainly welcome in MY garden! Thing is, if one leaves a garden untended, the grass usually takes over.

I have heard many times some variation of "the only thing i don't allow in my garden is grass" or "i absolutely don't tolerate grasses!" thing is, if i go through and cultivate my garden with a hoe, i'm going to get everything if not everything EXCEPT grasses because grass recovers faster from hoeing than anything else i'm aware of. So what are these fellow gardeners doing that allows these beneficial "weeds" to grow but not the grasses? Surely they aren't on their hands and knees, hand weeding 1,000 sq ft gardens, are they?

 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Sometimes, yes.

A colinear or scuffle hoe will help in some soil types. You weed around the dandelions the same as the lettuce or cabbage.

"A stitch in time saves nine" fits here--you have to keep ahead of it and get the fresh grass shoots while they are still microgreens so you can get the root and all. It can be a daunting task at first, but if you get behind you have lost for that round--hoe it all and start again as they come up.
 
Dave Burton
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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The first thing that comes to my mind is that they heavily sowed a fast-growing cover crop to prevent grass from growing. Pumpkins, squash, watermelons, clover, cowpeas, comfrey, just to name a few, are good cover crops that'll shade out the soil. This way when they're ready, they can chop and drop the cover crops and transition the area into a place with things they do want. To get what they'd like there, they could buy seeds and rootstock, get it from a seed exchange/swap, or build an ideal microclimate so the plants will come to them.
 
leila hamaya
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well i sheet mulch, and use thick mulch, so not sure this is what you are looking for as far as answers, but this works amazingly well with very little weeding and not much grass comes through. if and when it does, its time to throw more mulch on it.

but what does come through and/or reseed, is many of the cool weeds. a year or three later the grass and more weeds start to come back, but as they do it is easier to weed out the ones not desired and leave the good ones. and of course, keep on throwing mulch on top of them.
 
John Elliott
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dan long wrote: Surely they aren't on their hands and knees, hand weeding 1,000 sq ft gardens, are they?



Yes.

When you call it 'weeding', it sounds like a chore. Call it "selective harvesting". I selectively harvest Johnson grass, dandelions, prickly lettuce, and smilax for the guinea pigs. Other plants get pulled and tossed into the chicken coop to see if they want to have a go at it. Poisonous plants like nightshade go directly to the compost heap where they won't be able to spawn another generation. I am king of my garden and if something wants to grow in it, it better have a purpose, or I will yank it out by the roots.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
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