Weeding at the school

I got to do some weeding at the school’s Living Classroom garden Saturday morning, only getting rained on a little. I’d noticed some of the weeds going to seed and so hoped to avoid some of the spread.

I think I pulled out around 12 species of plants, working over around 2.5 hours.

In the section I worked on, hairy bittercress dominated.

I didn’t manage to catch it on video, but one interesting thing with the bittercress was that its seedpods would sometimes explode as I was working on pulling out a plant. When some of the dryer seedpods exploded, it actually hurt a bit to get hit in the face by the seeds, like having sand particles hit my face in a strong wind. I’m hoping that on balance, I didn’t end up sowing more seeds into newly opened space through these explosions.

Hairy bittercress plant in ground
Hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)

Sometime, I’d like to give the bittercress a try in a salad: Hairy Bittercress – Edible Weed.

For a few of the plants, today was my first day finding their names: Prostrate knotweed (Polygonum aviculare), edible? — I keep on typing *prostate* knotweed, which I guess would be something else; Scarlet pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis), also a movie, apparently not so tasty?; Cheeseweed mallow (Malva parviflora), “surprisingly tasty”?

Two bright spots in the weeding: finding a poppy and finding a lupine. I think both of these are likely growing from seed that we scattered last year. (But also a little sad not to see more of them surviving.)

It’s probably too late in the season, but inspired by them, after finishing clearing what I could of the weeds, I sowed some miniature lupine (Lupinus bicolor) seed near the lupine, some more California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) near the poppy, along with a sprinkling of California goldfields (Lasthenia californica), tidy tips (Layia platyglossa), and dwarf plantain (Plantago erecta).

I also planted a few common fiddleneck (Amsinckia intermedia) seeds along a wall that reminded me of a spot I’d seen them growing them on a walk Friday.

// Edit: After going through the list at https://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/weeds_multi.html#GRASS and looking at other sources, I’m pretty sure that grass #1 above is ripgut brome (Bromus diandrus). Below is a photo of some of the many remaining clumps of it from the next day. It’s encroaching on a labeled planting of a native grass (right side of the frame). (The few plants I pulled were starting to crowd out some fescue on the other side.) I’m slightly paranoid that it’s a native needlegrass, but it doesn’t look much like the Stipas we’ve got growing in our yard — its leaves are much wider and a different shade of green, I think — and I noticed other patches of the same stuff around the neighborhood.


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