Mark Bailey has some good advice:
Have you ever wondered why weeds grow so well, while your garden crops struggle? If you want your crops to grow like weeds, then look to weeds for inspiration. First, let’s go over what a weed is and touch on common weed characteristics. A weed can be thought of as any plant that you don’t want growing in a particular space for a period of time. Does a weed need to be watered regularly, fertilized and carefully tended to? Of course they don’t because they tend to be extremely well adapted to the specific conditions in which they emerge. The better adapted a plant is, the more likely it is to survive and outcompete other plants, such as in a garden, for resources like sunlight, water and nutrients. If you want the most amount of food from the garden for the least amount of work, consider crops that can grow like a weed.
Let’s dig a little deeper about what makes a plant weedy so we can choose the right crop for our situation. Weeds tend to emerge as soon as conditions are suitable for rapid growth. Weeds are usually supported by deep and extensive root systems that allow them to readily access limited water and nutrients. Take time to learn about each potential crop’s needs and match a crop to the local conditions and time of year. Additionally, planting into a weed-free garden bed, and using drip tape and timed irrigation can give your crops additional advantages over weeds before they appear.
What warm-season crops have weed-like characteristics? …
I have been blessed to meet Mark in person and count him as a friend. He is a very intelligent guy (especially considering he works for the government). He has spoken at the last two SCRUBFEST events and has shared some very good information in his columns.
The “grow like a weed” advice is exactly how I patterned my book Totally Crazy Easy Florida Gardening.
Throw a range of seeds and plants at the ground and see what happens. Replant the survivors and base the next year’s garden on them. Add different things each year and keep letting the weak die.
Eventually, you’ll have amazing success.
We did this with our North Florida garden and can now tell you /exactly/ what will thrive in the state.
More food, less work.