Volunteers, good and bad

Yes, in the garden at least, not all volunteers are good guys.

Your basic pain-in-the-gardener’s-derriere crabgrass.

Among the nasties in my garden are crabgrass, some kind of fine-leafed bindweed, dandelions and, by far the most persistent, galinsoga (an invasive from Europe that emigrated to my garden 30 years ago and has no intention of leaving).

Galinsoga: you can pull it out easily but that doesn’t mean you’ve rid your garden of this one. Persistent and prolific.

Among the good volunteers of summer: dill and cilantro.

Dill. I don’t call it “dillweed” because I think of weeds as plants I don’t want in my garden. Dill is welcome. Everywhere.

Cilantro. Think salsa.

Oh, and I have almost too much calendula, also known as “pot marigold,” which I don’t use for cooking but which produces bright and beautiful yellow and orange blossoms all summer.

Calendula, in various shades of orange and yellow.

Now, tell me about the volunteers in your garden: good and bad.


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3 Comments on “Volunteers, good and bad”

  1. Todd Moe says:

    A broken ankle kept me out of my garden for all of May and most of June. But hobbling through it earlier this week, I spied volunteer lettuce, parsley, cilantro, raspberries and brussel sprouts. Sometimes being a lazy, or laid up, gardener has its rewards.

  2. Michael Greer says:

    Oh so many of these weeds we bring down upon ourselves. Most of what we call weeds were brought here from Europe, either intentionally or accidentally. In my own garden, one year I brought in a great load of free spoiled hay to use as mulch. The mulch was great, but full of seeds, and the following year I had quack-grass and some terrible little thistle that would cling to the bottom of a bare foot like a demon.
    Manure will do the same for you, and we have learned to run it through the compost bins first…not so much to kill the seed (that may not be possible), but to allow the seed to sprout and die in the turning.

  3. Ellen Rocco says:

    Other favorite volunteers: nicotiana and sunflowers.

    Yeah, Michael, I think every gardener has made the hay for mulch mistake. Grass seed seems to be indestructible.

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