UNITED STATES—Warming spring weather accelerates bloom and growth. Early spring bloom is now much more colorful than the best of winter bloom. Fresh foliage is already replacing defoliated deciduous foliage and faded evergreen foliage. Vegetation will soon be more active than they will be during any other time of year. Such vegetation unfortunately includes weeds.

Weeds are only weeds because they are unwanted. That is their only commonality. Most are exotic, or not native, but a few are native. Most are annuals, but a few are perennials, vines, shrubs or trees. Annuals grow from seed, but several of the others can perpetuate vegetatively. Some are appealing where appropriate, but migrate to where they are not.

Weeds become weeds because they are generally invasive. Many are aggressively so. They grow wherever they can and compete with any desirable vegetation for resources. The most aggressive annual weeds begin growing before preferable species. They can overwhelm their slower victims. Several have bloomed and are already dispersing seed.

Many weeds were formerly desirable.

Exotic weeds are here for a variety of reasons. Some arrived inadvertently as seed in fur or digestive systems of livestock. Some were fodder for livestock. Many were originally desirable flowers for home gardens. A few were formerly useful as cover crops or erosion control. Many lack natural pathogens from their native ranges that limit their proliferation.

Regardless of their origins, weeds now necessitate weeding. They grow throughout the year, but most are most active as winter becomes spring. Obviously, they grow like their horticultural designation implies. Those that are not already dispersing seed should not get the opportunity to do so. Less weeding will be necessary later if more happens now.

Besides, weeding is easier while the soil is still evenly damp from winter rain. Roots are more pliable and less dispersed. They toughen and disperse as the season progresses. Rhizomes, stolons and other perennial weed parts are likewise easier to pull or dig now. Tilling might be more efficient for eradication of small but profuse young weed seedlings.

Highlight: Cabbage

Resemblance to lettuce is merely coincidental. Cabbage, Brassica oleracea, is instead a close relative of very dissimilar vegetables. Brussels sprout, broccoli and cauliflower are different varieties of the same species. So are collard, kale and kohlrabi. All are winter cold crops. (Cabbage comprises the varieties of capitata, tuba, sabauda or acephala.)

Cabbage became seasonable last autumn. Its last phase is now maturing. It grows most easily from cell pack seedlings. Alternatively, it can grow from seed, which starts about a month and half earlier. Cabbage is biennial, so will go to seed if it stays in the garden too late. Warm weather initiates and accelerates the process, which ruins flavor and texture.

Green cabbage is the most popular type. Red cabbage is the second most popular type. Dutch white cabbage often classifies simply as a pale type of green cabbage. A mature cabbage weighs about a pound or two. Its loose outer foliage can be a foot to nearly two feet wide. Within more ideal climates, some varieties grow slower but significantly larger. With rain through winter, irrigation is probably unnecessary. Soil should be organically rich.

Tony Tomeo can be contacted at tonytomeo.com.