What Weeds Teach Us About How to Plant a Garden

how to plant a garden

Is there a connection between where weeds grow and how to plant a garden?  Yes!

Weeds are nature’s reclamation crew.  We see them in sidewalk cracks, abandoned lots, rock landscapes and construction zones.  Weeds are the first plants to grow back in areas where vegetation has been removed and were soil has been disturbed. What does this tell us about how to plant a garden?

First, since we know that weeds pop up first in disturbed soils, we can use this characteristic to our advantage.

Two weeks prior to planting a garden, start to water the soil.  The weeds will pop up. When they appear, hoe them off to create a clean seed bed.

If you live in a cold climate, cover the soil with plastic to warm the soil and encourage weed growth two weeks prior to planting.

Secondly, weeds like to grow in disturbed soil.

Many of our garden vegetables are related to weedy plants.  Arugula is related to Rocket weed, Carrots are related to Queen Anne’s lace, and so forth.  Thus, they have similar characteristics to weeds and prefer to germinate in disturbed soil.

Before planting seeds, use a rake or garden fork to rough up the top inch or two of soil in your garden.  Then smooth it back out to create

a flat surface.  Now the bed is ready for planting.

By encouraging weeds to sprout prior to planting and creating a smooth seed bed, your vegetable seeds will germinate more easily and fewer weeds will compete with your garden plants.

Learn more at How to Start Plants from Seeds.