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tinyfaery's avatar

So. Cal. Gardeners (or others who plant in Fall for Spring bloom) what can I do about this problem. (Details inside).

Asked by tinyfaery (42765points) December 10th, 2011

I am a novice gardner and this is the first year I will have started a Spring garden from seeds and transplants. I’m attempting to create a perennial flower garden so I have a lot of stuff in the ground. I began planting seeds and bulbs in the early fall and am getting ready to put in my hyacinth.

Trouble is grass and random flowers/plants are springing up everywhere. I’m worried that these unwanted plants are going to overrun the seeds and young transplants. I don’t want to end up with a bunch of grass and flowers everywhere. I have a specific, plotted design. However, if I just pull out the unwanted foliage I’m worried I might somehow do damage to seeds and transplants that are trying to take root.

Am I worried for nothing? Will my plants root and will the grass/plants just die? If there is something I can do to get rid of the unwanted plants/grass without damaging my flowers?

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6 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

@tinyfaer: Welcome to the world of sore knees and backs and dirty hands. You can mulch the area after you have planted (with newspaper or plastic covered in dirt, with pine needles, with store-bought bags of mulch), or you can weed on a regular basis.

It is imperative that you learn, asap, the difference between a sprouting perennial and a look-alike weed. Do you have any friends or neighbors who can give you some tips/

Grass is easy to ID and should be yanked out wherever you see it.

You have enriched the soil and thus made it inviting for any vegetative thing to sink its greedy little roots into.

I go out almost every morning in the nice weather with a mug of tea and my knee pads in order to do some weeding. And when I come home from anywhere in the car on a nice day, I stop and pull a few weeds before going into the house.

There are no magic tricks, I’m sorry to say.

You can also start your seeds in small pots on your window sills so that you have a decent-sized plant to transplant into the garden. Then you label it with a popsicle stick or $$$markers bought at the garden center.

tinyfaery's avatar

So if I pull the grass out my wanted plants will not be harmed?

I did mark my seed and bulb spaces, but I thought I couldn’t add any sort of ground cover until something has already sprouted.

My bulbs are doing great, but my delphinium and columbine have not yet sprouted. I think the grass may have already killed them. :(

gailcalled's avatar

@tinyfaery; Don’t despair. You do need to see what you are mulching; that is true.

However, at least here, my columbines are indefatigable and reseed everywhere. I see them growing profligately between the blue stones on the walkway…in areas that I know I never had planted them. They also grow in my shaded compost pile.

Grass is always bad in flower beds. If you can ID it as grass, use a claw or weeding tool.

Delphiniums are a mystery to me. They love my sister’s alkaline soil (four miles from me) and flourish. Here I have predominantly acidic soil and the delphies don’t even return after the first winter.

As I said, if you’e growing stuff from seeds, it is easier to start them in pots or flats so that you can label them when you transplant into the garden. Check out your gardening neighbors; they love to give away baby plants.

However, I congratulate you for taking the first steps. I remember my first year here; I wandered around in despair. Now the gardens are taking over my house, my flagstones, my driveway and my wallet. I paid a team of gardeners this year for the first time to slash, hack and remove.

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Bugalu's avatar

I put down newspaper in my flower beds and black plastic in my garden, the first year I did not and the weeds were out of hand, I couldn’t pull them fast enough, after placing the newspapers around my flowers, problem solved, the garden was wonderful, not a weed to be found!

To pull weeds close to baby plants, I would place two fingers on each side of the plant to secure it and pull the weed/grass gently with the other hand.

tinyfaery's avatar

Thanks. I’ve been pulling weeds and then mulching. It seems to be working.

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