Making good use of weeds


Weeds are often thought of as a gardeners’ enemy. In our vegetable garden we usually remove the weeds as soon as possible. However, this year we are going to change our approach and try to make good use of weeds. In other words, we are trying to preserve some of the weeds that grow in our vegetable garden and not to remove them unless they grow too big.

One of the reasons for this is that we have previously had our vegetable plants eaten away by cutworms.

≫Related article: Young vegetable plants have been attacked by cutworms

Cutworms are the larvae of moths, which hide in the soil during the day and emerge above ground at night to eat the leaves or stalks of tender vegetable seedlings from their base.

They can only eat young, tender seedlings, and if there are young weed shoots, they may eat them first. What we are aiming for is to protect the vegetable seedlings by keeping the weeds for them to eat.

A weed eaten by pests

There are many other insects that can eat vegetables and their predators are spiders and frogs. Letting weeds grow in the garden has the advantage that spiders and frogs can hide themselves from their predators such as birds.

This may seem different from the mainstream gardening method, but as I believe that there is no right or wrong way for gardening, I’m always keen to try out variants.

This is also the case with companion planting. Leguminous plants are usually described as being incompatible with other vegetables, but I’ve planted lettuce and brassica family plants at the feet of sweet peas and peas.

Radish at the foot of the beans
Romaine lettuce in the gap between the sweet peas

I’m not sure if they will work, but I think the right way for gardening ultimately depends on the land and the environment.

Gladioli are said to be incompatible with any kind of vegetables, but we carelessly planted them in the middle of the vegetable garden. All we could do was to keep them isolated from other vegetables, but the space at their feet looks very tempting to me.

≫Related article: Bad news! Gladiolus and vegetables should not be planted together, but we did!

Why do gladioli not go well with other vegetables? One of the reasons, I think, is that they grow tall and block the sunlight to other crops. However, it would be a shame to leave this space empty, as it still gets a lot of morning sun on the eastern side. Now I am planning to plant some lettuce there. No matter whether it’s a success or a  failure, it’ll be our experience. You never know unless you try. 

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