Thursday, April 15, 2010

You can put your weed in it

We don't have a lot of yard by suburban or country standards, but by city standards, our double lot is big. It's sort of u-shaped, wrapping around the house. On the north side is a driveway with a narrow planting strip; on the south is a side yard. And in the space that's there, lots of weed seeds have found purchase.

We currently have a lot of projects in the works with regards to the yard -- we're putting in a small stone patio in the side yard, lattice on one side of the house plus skirting around the deck Peter built a couple of summers back, reshaping and edging the borders, and lots of containment of various plants I hastily put in the ground (like the raspberry brambles.) I guess home ownership made me ambitious. So, when I head out to the back forty, there are a lot of directions for me to go in.

But I learned the hard way that weeds can get out of control in a hurry. There are these giant colocasia-like (but ugly) leaves in the south border that are, as best as I can tell, unkillable. I tried digging them up last year but apparently the smallest bit of taproot will grow a new plant. I thought I had hit the mother taproot, but since it was seriously like nine inches across and punched down straight to the bowels of hell there was no way I got it all. And did that bastard ever come back with a vengeance. All these baby hell-plants are currently threatening my cherry bushes, like those little skittery parasite things in Cloverfield. And I have no idea how to get rid of them without scorching the earth. A couple of weeks ago I tried spraying them with vinegar and covering them with black plastic to solarize them, but between you and me I think I just pissed them off. So I'm hoping that this early attack on the rest of the weedy garden will avoid problems like that in the future.

The last couple of days of quick-hit weeding have been interesting (to me, at least) in that while I'm only clearing out small areas, I'm looking ahead to decisions I will have to make. Dandelions are a no-brainer in the beds, of course, but do I bother with them in the lawn? Up to this point I had claimed to subscribe to the "freedom lawn" concept, that being the one that allowed me to pretend to not care about the lawn. I don't want to use chemicals if I can avoid it (thus my feeble handwaving at south bed devilweeds) so the ol' weed-n-feed approach isn't one I'd like to take for the time being. But...there are a lot of dandelions in the lawn. Like...a LOT. And hand-pulling them would require setting aside a decade to do. Still, leaving them means that some of them will, inevitably, set seed, and that seed will spread as far and wide as Wilt Chamberlain's. Maybe it's time for some protection. For all of us.

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