This bittercress plant is getting ready to send its seed everywhere. Pull these plants before they procreate or you'll be destined to battle the weed for years. Photos by Doug Oster
I enjoy putting the weed bittercress into salads and pick it all winter. It's till edible when the white flowers appear, but then becomes very bitter as it goes to seed, hence the name.
This is what bittercress looks like as it flowers. After the white blooms are finished the plant is filled with seeds.Once the seeds mature they will spring from the plant when disturbed, landing a foot or two away and covering the garden.
There's an old saying about weeds and their seeds. Letting them go to seed ensures seven more years of the weed.
In my garden I know I'll aways have bittercress, but this time of the year I'm pulling it out. I don't want to be overrun with the annual plants.
Bittercress forms a carpet across the garden and is pretty easy to pull out. It forms rootlets all along the ground, but they are shallow.
My chickens love it when I throw a pile of bittercress into the run.
Don't put the plants into the compost pile if they have gone to seed. I have a separate pile for weeds which I never harvest. Weed seeds in the compost could mean you'd add the weed back into the garden with every application.
It's a good rule of thumb to get any weed before it goes to seed.
"But a weed is simply a plant that wants to grow where people want something else. In blaming nature, people mistake the culprit. Weeds are people's idea, not nature's."
A close look at bittercress flowers reveal their beauty.