When to Pluck Intruders Out or Let them Bloom

“Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished.” — Frances Bacon

Intruders to the garden include some insects, some animals, and of course – weeds. A weed is any undesirable or troublesome plant growing in an area where it isn’t wanted, like in a vegetable garden. They can take the nutrients out of the soil, crowd the area, and can even injure the desired crops.

In years past, I have been very diligent about plucking weeds out of the garden. I would do so by hand pulling and tilling in between the rows. This year, I have been more relaxed when dealing with the weeds. Some of my rows are closer together and pulling out too many could disturb the root system of the crops. Also, we have an outdoor cat now. He ventures in the garden (which is fenced – but he still can jump over) when we are in it. I don’t want to entice him to ‘use’ the freshly tilled dirt – so I’m not tilling it this year.

Common animals, as intruders to the garden, can include groundhogs, deer, and birds. Well, the groundhogs in our area haven’t figured out how to get in the fence – thankfully. The deer are usually not interested in it either. I had 2 nights where part of the fence was knocked down. I hung up balloons and cans on that side of the fence until I could get better stakes for it. Worked nicely – no problems since. Now keeping the birds out can be tricky. I have used bird netting and hung up old CDs around the garden in the past. Right now, I am trying something called bird scare tape. It is a metallic-like red on one side and silver on the ribbon. You twist it when wrapping the garden as far up as you can around the perimeter. You can also tie it above the plants. Supposedly, the birds see the reflection as fire and they will not venture in. So far working great.

The insect intruders I mainly have to deal with are aphids, tomato hornworms, and Japanese beetles. I try to walk through the garden daily and check for unwanted bugs as well as check on the development of the plants. I hand-pick the Japanese beetles off and put them in soap water if there are only a few. If there are many, it is time to spray the plants with Seven insecticide. I do the same with tomato hornworms. Aphids have a knack for hiding under the leaves, so look closely. If you find a lot of them, insecticide soap works well to kill them without damaging the plants.

I have a hill with monkey grass growing on it. Weeds grow over top of the grasses. Usually I pull the weeds as soon as I see them. However, I noticed that the weeds had bloomed before I could get to them this year and numerous bees and other insects were on the flowers. I decided to not pluck these intruders out. Their blooms were providing nutrients to beneficial insects.

Decisions of what plants, that grow wildly, to keep or get rid of depends upon their seen purposes. I am more than likely to keep them in my flower bed and wait to see what blooms. However, I will pull most of them out of the vegetable garden. God made the plants. Some are more beneficial to people than others. Some are made more for the animals and insects. They all share a purpose of covering the ground to hold in the rain. They all share a purpose of being beautiful. God has a purpose for it all – just wait and see.

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