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We have quite large vegie gardens, I am battling what I think is chickweed, it keeps coming up everywhere, if I plant seeds it comes up with them and there are millions literally, have tried heavy mulching, it eventually comes through that, I certainly don't want to use poisons but I am at a loss how to get rid of it.  Weeding by hand is overwhelming and after spending a couple of hours daily it looks like I am getting no where especially where new seeds are emerging, I have planted carrots, they are surrounded by it, if I pull the chickweed out the tiny carrots come out with it.  Any suggestions please ???

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If it really is Chickweed (no white sap) then it is very edible. Working on the "life deals lemons, make lemonade" theory ... look at the good points of the plant then decide what to do next.

 

Chickweed has a very fine and very large root system; roots are among the nourishers of soil micro-flora which make 'living soil' so instead of trying to pull it out (and pulling the carrots out too) cut it off at soil level. Leave the green parts on the ground as mulch and leave the roots in the soil to continue their good work. And eat as much of it as you can, it is great free food.

 

There's some points to consider with 'weeds' in general. One of which is that they come to a place where that area needs the nutrients they provide. On that basis, leaving as much of the plant in place as you can can only help the soil and the plants which grow in it and we who eat the plants.

 

Oh and post a pic if you can, it helps to identify the plant.

I don't know this weed well enough to identify (no doubt have seen, but didn't know the name).

Is this it? chickweed

Got this from another site - seems it has some negatives:

Side effects may include contact dermatitis after skin contact with the herb. People with allergies to the daisy plant family may also react to chickweed.

Chickweed should not be used internally by pregnant or nursing women or children.

Chickweed contains nitrate. If you experience symptoms of nitrate poisoning after taking chickweed, call your health care practitioner. Symptoms may include weakness, headache, fainting, bluish fingers and lips and dizziness.

There have been case reports of muscle paralysis from very large oral doses of chickweed. These case reports, however, appear to have been isolated reports.


The picture looks very like my Chickweed - especially the flowers and that's diagnostic enough.

 

Never have more than a small handfull between us no more than once a day so don't expect the negatives to bother us also don't expect the supposed obesity-reducing properties to work either.

We have the same problem with chickweed.  I would estimate it smothers more than a half acre of the shady side of our block and continues to spread.  Mowing casts the seed further so I if you have a problem the scale of ours, leave the plant to run its cycle and drop its seed where it grows. 

 

Following the nutrients theory, I have wondered whether it responds to applications of epsom salts the way other lawn weeds do.  Does anyone know?  

I'd love to know more about putting Epsom salts on lawn weeds Jodie, a new one to me. ES = Magnesium (sulphate?) so it's the Magnesium more than anything else which is added with the ES?

 

Cutting the plant off at the roots (assuming a small enough patch to do this and not go nuts in the process) keeps the seed in place. But the seeds are quite stick and they get transported on trouser legs, dogs and cats legs and maybe even birds so stopping their spread is problematical.

 

Chickweed is a cool-season annual and just keeping it clear of small plants might be all you need to make the most of its presence and the nutrients it is giving to the soil.

I know it works on other lawn weeds, bindii in particular.  Haven't tried it here as our problem is so widespread.  Mulching does help contain it somewhat.
This is what it looks like, no white sap, but it is spreading everywhere.
That's Chickweed alright. See if you can cut it off at ground level using scissors, the roots will improve the growing conditions for the Carrots.
And another photo
Thanks Elaine, it's going to be a big job but I will give it a go :(
Yes those pics are chickweed. I have the same problem during the winter - a solid carpet. I work on keeping it clear where I have planted seeds & small plants. Just keep mulching it out round the bigger plants. As a consolation my Father  an organic gardener in the 40's always said if you have chickweed it shows a healthy soil.

We eat quite a lot of chickweed in salads when it is young and fresh. It is pretty nutritious and tastes a lot like lettuce, what I call 'bland green'. It also can be used in a 'weed' or wild harvest pesto as a filler to buffer the stronger flavours of other edible weeds. All of the pictures above are true chickweed. It is a prized green by people who want to keep their caged birds healthy. It is easy to recognise by the tiny white starry flowers, which is how it gets its botanic name Stellaria.

To control the over-enthusiam of this plant and others, I usually take steps to limit their germination when I am sowing seeds. I soak newspaper and using only the one sheet, fold it into thirds and lay it between the seed rows with just enough space for my seeds to come up. Then I cover the newspaper with a thin layer of mulch. This very thin layer of newspaper disappears quite rapidly (unlike the much thicker layers used in sheet mulching) but it really slows the germination of the weeds. Then I only have to weed the actual seed row itself. Unfortunately to beat chickweed you have to weed it the second the seed leaves appear. Once it gets bigger, it is impossible to actually pull it out, without damaging your seedlings.

 

This is a recipe for chickweed pest http://www.learningherbs.com/chickweed_pesto.html

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