Many community gardeners don’t take advantage of our Georgia winters and finish their garden as the temperatures get cool. As you get ready for the garden break, don’t leave a weedy mess!
A garden plot left full of weeds is not just an eyesore that is unfair to your fellow community gardeners, it can be detrimental to your future crops.
The Weed Seed Bank – don’t make deposits
Weed scientists have a saying:
One year’s seeding means ten years weeding!
If a weed is allowed to produce seed those seeds will happily deposit in your plot to germinate at another time. In weed science terms, you have added to the dreaded weed seed bank. Plant seeds are tough and are a plant’s mechanism for long-term survival.
Some seeds from a legume collected beneath permafrost in the Yukon germinated. The estimated age of those seeds? 10,000 years old!
A sample of seeds dated 237 years old from a British museum herbarium germinated.
Garden Debris Can Create a Welcome Over-Wintering Spot for Pests
Pests like Mexican bean beetles can overwinter in garden debris waiting for your spring planting of bush beans. Don’t give them that extra edge.
What are some alternatives? If you aren’t growing cool-season vegetables, try growing a cover crop. Or, cover your plot with plastic and do some winter solarization. At the very least, clean your plot and add a cover of mulch.
Give next year’s warm-season crops a good start while being a good community garden neighbor.