We insult Mother Nature by referring to common purslane as “weeds”

Common Purslane by pellaea

I have not seen it growing in my garden yet, because common purslane – Portulaca oleracea is a summer annual weed species that is abundant throughout the world invading vegetable gardens, bare areas, low-maintenance lawns, ornamental plantings, and agricultural areas. Though not a native, no one knows how common purslane arrived in North America. And though it is considered a weed here, it is used as a leaf vegetable in other parts of the world.

Common purslane is considered one of the most nutritious greens on the planet. It has more Omega 3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant, more beta carotene than spinach as well as high levels of magnesium and potassium. (see here)

If you don’t want common purslane growing n your garden, it is not a difficult weed to eliminate- if you have a small garden. Hand pulling is very easy especially when the plant is young. And using mulch to smother weeds is always a good idea. Though TheGardenLady does not recommend chemicals, there are many herbicides on the market that will kill purslane. Read instructions carefully and be doubly careful using chemicals near or in your vegetable garden.

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Is There A Weed Killer That Does Not Kill Moss?

 moss garden by akaitori (on flickr)
moss garden by akaitori (on flickr)

TheGardenLady received this question from Claudia:

Every weed killer that I have located includes moss as a weed so it kills the moss too. Is there a weed killer that does not kill moss?

In one public garden with moss that I visited, I asked this very question. They said they got down in the moss and carefully plucked out all the weeds by hand using some type of tweezers. Moss has no roots. So if you pull some up just push it back in the spot it came from.

Moss loves acid soil- a ph of 5 to 6 is what mosses prefer. Weeds tend not to like soil with such a high acid content. So when the moss is in its preferred environment then it grows vigorously enough that weeds won’t be a problem. In fact you might be surprised that acid loving native plants take root in the soil even if you hadn’t planted them. They come into the moss environment like weeds. You can try adding wettable sulphur to the areas where the moss is weedy – add 1/2 the amount that is on the bag directions and put it in a small, test area to test if it works.

If you have weeds that you can’t hand pull try spotting the weeds with ” Weed Be Gone” or ” Round up”. Use these products in a small test area first to see if it doesn’t burn the moss. Then if it doesn’t burn the moss, you can use these products in other areas.

One of the best places to buy moss and moss products like the wettable sulphur is from Moss Acres. Moss Acres offers a wide range of soil amendment products to lower pH. They also will answer moss questions.

The owner of this company, David Benner, has the loveliest moss garden that is open to the public for a few days every May. Try to visit this garden and ask the tour guide, either David or his son, moss questions.