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Weeds grow fast and furious, so it's important to be able to identify them and pull them before they get too big and overtake your vegetables. Getting to know your weeds is the hard part, once you can identify them it's easy to pull them as soon as you see them.
Starting out, plant your vegetables thick when you're putting the seeds in the ground. This way when they start growing you'll see the thick line of seedlings. Then you get to see what those seedlings look like from start to finish without wondering if that actually is what you planted or not. Anything else that does not look like the thick patch of seedlings is going to be a weed, which you can then pull.
Top 5 Weeds in Longmont, Colorado:
1. Bindweed - Public Enemy #1 a.k.a. Morning Glory
The nastiest weed of them all. They look innocent enough and their flowers are actually pretty cool if you let them bloom but they take over and destroy everything in their path. They get deep roots and once you pull them more pop up. They seem to be like strawberries and appear to spread via root runners. They wrap themselves around anything and basically strangle whatever they attach to. Pull them the second you see them.
2. Wild Lettuce and Thistle
I'm grouping these together for our purposes but mostly because I can't tell them apart. Regardless of that, they both need to be pulled and they're both fairly thistly once they grow tall enough. Pull them when you first see them to avoid needing gloves to get them out of the ground. They will take over your space if you don't pull them.
3. Common Mallow
This seems to be almost as invasive as bindweed but doesn't grow quite as quick. It's harder to pull out though as the roots on these are very deep. Combine that with our clay soil and good luck to you! If you let them grow they will suddenly pop-up everywhere and will try and crowd out everything else. At least they don't wrap themselves around anything though. I've read these are edible but I haven't tried them and probably won't, this one doesn't appeal to me.
You know dandelions, this one doesn't need any explanation. The greens are edible and the flowers can be used to make wine, hand balm or probably about a million other useful things. Try and utilize this one as you pull it!
5. Lamb's Quarters
The leaves are edible and it tastes like spinach. It is a great garden snack! If you let them go to seed then your space will be covered with them. You can let them grow a little bit and enjoy their leaves but pull them once they're about knee-high, if not sooner.
Editor's note: Jame Lissy recently received nearly 1,000 seed packets as a donation. He would like to share them with members of the Longmont community. Email Lissy at email@example.com if you are interested.