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sacrificing some plants for others  RSS feed

 
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In my semi-naturalized garden I get a lot of volunteer plants- mostly sunflowers, borage and mustard greens since these are prolific at producing seeds. I let a fair number of plants grow, especially in the spring and early summer, and use them for green mulch. Now my intended plants (vegetables) are well established and I struggle with balancing their growth with my "volunteers".

I know onions don't like competition and my volunteer zucchini's and sunflowers are certainly shading out my tomatoes. Still, I find it difficult to cut down a strong sunflower. Removing zucchini plants, even if they are growing in a less than ideal place, makes me feel like I'm gambling and betting harder on a risky outcome of tomatoes versus more certain but less desirable zucchini.

Do others struggle with these choices? What are your perspectives?

-RNK
 
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Location: Portlandia, Oregon
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Haha I too have this problem from time to time. Luckily for me potatoes and dandelion lend themselves to being harvested on removal making me feel less bad. I hate culling my extra beans though. I always over plant to give extra nitrogen, act as a bait crop, give extra mulch, choke out weeds, allow me to select for growth habits and more. However I always have too many so I painfully thin.
 
pollinator
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Location: West Yorkshire, UK
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Me too.  I recently relocated my vegetable beds and I thought I had cleared away most/all of the original occupants, but I find I still have a peony, three raspberries, and multiple sorrel plants where there should be vegetables.  Problem is, I want to keep these plants too, and if I move them now, in the middle of summer, they might not survive.  So I'm putting up with them until I can move them in late autumn.  At least they're not massive and there's still room for most of my veg.

I also have a lot of self seeded stuff which I feel terrible about pulling out, like mizuna, nasturtiums, poppies, honesty.  Some of them I'm just too soft to pull  But if I don't keep on top of the nasturtiums they'll take over...
 
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Location: Upstate SC
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I'll transplant a self-sown seedling that comes up in a spot where it will interfere with a purposely seeded crop unless the seeded crop plant is already doing poorly.  In some cases you can leave the self seeder to grow if the seeded crop is short lived, goes summer dormant (onions, potato), or will be harvested before the self seedling get big enough to interfere with it.
 
gardener
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Rn Kaur wrote:Do others struggle with these choices? What are your perspectives?



Not me... For me, it's cull, Cull, CULL. chop, Chop, CHOP!

My contract as a farmer is with the ecosystem, and/or with the species. That is what I feel tasked to preserve and sustain. I don't feel an obligation to any particular seed, or plant... One day, after I was finished winnowing corn seed, there was around $300 worth of seed laying on the ground. I fed it to the chickens rather than expending the effort of collecting and cleaning it.

Once in a while, I'll have one plant that is the culmination of many years worth of manual cross pollinations. Pretty much anything else in the garden will be sacrificed to protect that plant. But for the most part, to me, a plant is just a plant, and there are plenty of replacements.

However I make priorities... Species that require less labor from me, and produce more food or command higher prices at market are favored over species that constantly struggle with weeds, or that I have to give away at market. I'd rather grow a food high in protein or fat than something lame like lettuce.



 
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