The Q&A Archives: Chickweed Control

Question: I have several raised beds for vegetables, and they are full of chickweed. It always comes back in the spring; what can I do to get rid of it?

Answer: Chickweed generally grows as a winter annual, sprouting in fall and, in warm winter areas, continuing to sprout and grow throughout the winter. Unlike many weeds, it blooms and sets seeds in the cool weather of early spring. You can begin your weed control efforts in the fall and throughout the winter when the ground isn't frozen or covered with snow. If you pull the weeds as you see them, you'll reduce the number that go to seed in the spring. (Each chickweed plant can produce up to 15,000 seeds!)

Use a cultivator (or any pronged tool) to grasp the plants' thick, matted growth, and twist to pull it out by the roots. Since the plants are so hardy and resilient, it's best to remove them from the garden completely, rather than trying to till them under. Also, the seeds are very, very durable, so if you remove a plant with mature seeds, discard it rather than adding it to the compost pile.

Fortunately, chickweed is edible, so don't worry if a little sneaks when you're harvesting lettuce!

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