If you’ve planted seeds in your garden in a random scattering rather than in rows, it can be difficult to tell which seedlings are your crops and which are weeds.
What makes it harder is that the very first leaves to come through the soil, the seed leaves, do not have the same shape as the mature leaves. Knowing what the “adult” plant looks like does not help us identify the babies.
This is one of the beauties of the row-system of planting — all the seedlings that look alike and are in a row are probably your crop.
However, many of us have abandoned tidy rows in an effort to use our smaller — or oddly shaped — gardens more efficiently. This can lead to confusion when the crops and weeds emerge pretty much at the same time.
New gardeners are not the only ones who can have this problem. I took the pictures for this post while I was in Oklahoma visiting my Mom (aka “Grammy”) and Stepdad (“Grandpa Bill”).
Mom had planted some of her large containers with cool-season crops but wasn’t sure which of the little green leaves were spinach and which were lettuce. She knew which were the peas.
In another week or so, the plants will look more like the crops that they are, as the next sets of leaves grow. For now, knowing which seedlings are actually crops means that the weeds can be removed without fear of wiping out the crop at the same time.