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weeds no seed germination

Think of what one weed is capable of producing as subsequent generations also produce seed, millions of seeds! The true horror, however, is allowing seeds to accumulate in the soil. What is the average viability of the seed; that is, how long is a seed able to persist in the landscape? The table below shows the average number of years that some common species of weed seeds can survive and still germinate and grow:

Weed Viability of Buried Seed


Thanks for sharing this with us, I never knew that the weed seed bank was so diverse. My husband and I have a little garden at the back of our house that we frequent. It really is nice to be a bit closer to nature in the inner city. We are also planting some flowers in the next few days.

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1. Fall-planting

Another cue seeds look for is large swings in temperature. If the soil gets really warm during the day, then cools back down at night, this is a cue there isn’t anything trying to compete with it. Under a cover crop, the soil is shaded during the warm parts of the day, so the temperature swings are much less drastic. You might sit there waiting for a cue for a long time. But the longer you sit there, the higher the chance you’ll get eaten by one of the seed-eaters.

Some other common cover crops are clovers, peas, tillage radish, mustards, barley, wheat, and Sudan grass. Many gardening companies also offer seed mixes. Once you start using cover crops you might find they are just as exciting as the food-producing plants in your garden. As a rule of thumb if you see bare soil you might have an opportunity to use a cover crop, the quiet weed fighter. Happy cover cropping!

A simple way to get started is to plant a winter rye cover crop in the fall (October/November) as you put the garden to bed. Many gardening seed companies offer winter rye seeds. It’s a hardy plant that survives most winters if it gets to be one soda can tall before winter truly sets in. It also puts a satisfying ‘green’ in the garden during months that can feel dreary.

Cover crops differ from ‘regular’ crops in that they are grown solely so the soil is covered, rather than for harvestable things. Cover crops are used by lots of folks – grain farmers, vegetable farmers, flower farmers, and they offer lots of soil benefits, as described in this blog. But they can also help control weeds! Let’s explore how.