Weeds in Vegetable Garden

Asked June 10, 2019, 7:46 PM EDT

We have three 12' x 4' raised vegetable beds that we prepped for planting this year (i.e. tilled, weeded, amended, fed). Two of the three have small grass-like weeds that have multiplied all over. Unfortunately, they showed up after we seeded. So, we don't want to disturb the seeds by pulling the weeds right now. We plan on letting them grow up together, and once the veggies have firmly entrenched themselves, pull the weeds. So, we have two questions. One, is that the best course of action to take? And, two, why did two beds end up looking like this (see pic), and the other is free and clear of all but one or two weeds that pop up on occasion. Thanks in advance for your help.

El Paso County Colorado

3 Responses

Thank you for contacting ask an expert with your question about weeds in your vegetable beds. Looking at the photo closely I see three different kinds of growth, a small amount of what looks like purslane, an even smaller amount of black medic, both very common weeds. The greener, grassy sort of plants could be the first leaves of what you planted. I realize that this question is 11 days old and you probably know for sure what they look like by now.
I think your approach sounds like the best idea, it will be easier to identify and remove the weeds when you are in the process of thinning your seedlings.
As to why the weeds are in two beds and not the third that is really not answerable. When we cultivate soil we often bring seed accumulated in the soil up to the surface where it can germinate. This accumulated seed in the soil is called the seed bank. You might consider this year cultivating the soil in autumn, after you clean up the vegetable bed, then just weeding and very gentle cultivation next spring. If there is a large seed bank in the soil that might minimize the weeds the appear after seeding.
Please reopen this question if you would like additional information.

Thanks for getting back to us, Fredricka. The grassy looking plants were definitely not veggies we planted. Very distinguishable from carrots and leaf lettuce. They were easy to pull, though. You were spot on about the purslane, and the black medic (though the black medic is pretty minimal in the garden, but showing up in the yard in various places). Bottom line, the purslane is the biggest infiltrator right now. Since posting the original pic, it has grown considerably, as we've tried to manage it, but felt it was easier to pull when it's larger. I've done some reading about it, and it's a pesty survivalist weed. So, we're taking care to make sure we don't leave any remnants that could re-root, nor wait too long for it to get too big and start seeding. Your advice seems sound. So, we'll do some cultivation in the fall to see if we can get ahead of the seed bank. Thanks, again!

Well if it is any consolation I think purslane is edible! I suspected that the grass probably was weeds, but when spinach first emerges it the first leaves can look like a grass sprout. Good luck with your gardening.