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I have a large packet of a large assortment of seeds growing in a prepared bed. Probably 20 different varieties of flower for a "Butterfly Garden" which I have scattered in the plot.

I don't mind weeding it, although I would like to know that I am pulling out weeds.

For instance, it has some sort of clover in the bag, and I have clover growing all over my lawn, but not usually in the garden, should I pull out half the clover in the garden?

The packet also says to make sure the plot is weed free, but how can I tell if a plot is going to be weed free before the weeds grow?

So far the only thing I know to pull is grass...

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3 Answers 3

First of all, the only way you'll ever be able to make sure a plot is "weed free" is if you pave it over, and the weeds will usually find a way in that case as well. I wouldn't worry too much about "weed free". The most important part is making sure that it's an area that's suitable for germination and growth for those seeds. That means good soil (good organics, not too rocky, not too much clay), enough light, enough water, and not too much competition from other plants.

And that last point is really what the "weed free" is referring to. You don't want something else germinating and growing faster than the seeds in your mix. Unfortunately, there's no simple answer to give on that, you'll have to keep an eye on it and try and figure out if some other plant is starting to take over your patch before the seed mix starts to grow. Pluck out things that don't belong there, or, at least, maybe thin out the things coming out so you have an even distribution (and the weeds will get lost in all the flowers).

One last thing I'd recommend is, as you're managing your patch of flowers, find the ones you like and/or the ones that grow well in your yard and save the seeds once their done flowering. Save the seeds for the next year. I find that far more fun than buying a new pack each year.

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+1: For not worrying about weed free and for saving seeds for next year. –  Umber Ferrule Jun 24 '11 at 22:03

Making a patch of ground "weed free" is standard boilerplate -- and useless.

Basically what you want to do is start the seeds in an area that has been cleared of sod and isn't full of aggressively growing weeds.

Hopefully the stuff in your packet grows aggressively and outcompetes whatever weeds are going to invade.

We have a sort-of butterfly garden. A minimal amount of effort goes into making it "weed free" -- especially since most of the "flowers" would be considered weeds by a lot of people. Many were pulled out of roadside ditches and transplanted here because they look nice. Everything grows vigorously, so it all outcompetes "weeds" for the most part. And all of them are perennials or self-seeders so they come back every year. Maintenance is really just a matter of pulling out the grass and hacking back whatever flower/weed (depends on your perspective!) is getting a little too aggressive.

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While I'm not disagreeing with any of the information already give here, and I whole heartily agree that weed free is (near on) impossible, you may wish to read up on "Soil Solarization" for future reference, at least be aware of this technique:

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