Saturday, August 12, 2017

Gardening: Cautionary Tales: Unassuming Killers

Hello, Gardeners!

To continue our cautionary posts, we are going to be talking about plants you wouldn't think would take over your garden, but do.

There are two types of plants that can take over a vegetable garden: invasive plants and vining plants.

1) Invasive Plants
The giant green stuff is mint.
Invasive plants simply invade the area they are given and take over, pushing the other plants out in a variety of ways. The invasive plants you've probably heard the most about are weeds. However, we often keep invasive plants in our gardens as well. A few of these are strawberries, chives, mint, and oregano. Plants like these usually send out "runners," or baby plants (sometimes called daughter plants) under the soil. These runners are connected to the main roots. The runners then turn into regular plants, except for one thing: they are still connected to the main plant. (This reminds me of Larryboy and the Rumor Weed, a VeggieTales show. Here's a link to the whole thing. I couldn't find just the part I'm thinking about.) In any case, invasive plants usually do best in pots or somewhere where they are contained. And all the plants I listed are perennials as well, so you can't just start again next year. I should have listened to gardening advice before planting my mint and oregano. Oops.

2) Vining Plants
Vining plants are just that: any plant that vines. This would include members of the squash family, cucumber family, beans, peas, and a few others. (By the way, if beans and peas are labeled as the bush variety, that means they don't vine, so they're fine.) Vining plants always want to hold on to something. They also like holding on tight. Although this doesn't seem like it would be an issue, it becomes a problem when your vining plants begin to wrap around your other plants, or themselves. Beans hold on to other plants, but usually just enough so they'll be secure, but cucumbers will squeeze until they can't squeeze anymore, which can cut off circulation of that part of the vine or plant, causing it to die. (This is based on personal experience, so your plants may act slightly different.) Often, only parts of vines or parts of plants die, so it probably won't kill the whole plant.

Obviously, people still grow these plants, and we don't want to be able to only grow one type of plant for the rest of our lives. So, what do we do?

Answer: Work.


Invasive Plants:
I kind of already mentioned this, but try to grow invasive plants in their own containers. You can also just weed a lot. I don't mean weed the weeds, I mean pull up the daughter plants if they're getting too out of hand.

Vining Plants:
Untangle. Every few days, go out and gently untangle the vines. If the vines don't seem to be impeding a plant's space or squeezing too tight, sometimes it's easier just to leave it. For example, last year, I had beans growing near garlic, and the beans wrapped around the garlic leaves. Because the
beans were just loosely wrapped around, and the garlic still grew fine, I just left it. However, if you notice a vining plant is squeezing, you need to gently untangle that vine, otherwise it'll end up killing the part of the plant it's squeezing. Depending on the type of vining plant, you may need a trellis or something it can climb. This will help direct the plant's growth. You should still check the vining plant regularly and redirect its tendrils if need be.

Have you ever had problems with these types of plants

Spruce Nogard

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