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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  • 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

      • Among the many benefits of Chickweed is a large, fine and fibrous root system. Pulling this up often does result in pulling up plants we'd rather not pull up. This is where (if it's practical) snipping the Chickweed off at ground level gets the plant to become mulch but leaves the roots to do their good work in the soil.
  • Thanks Elaine, it's going to be a big job but I will give it a go :(
  • And another photo34633734?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024
  • 34633704?profile=RESIZE_1024x1024This 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.
  • 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.
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