Friday, March 1, 2013

Episode 5: Wherein Organigirl Methodically Rids Her Garden of Evil Bindweed and Its Progeny

Bindweed invasion in progress.

Among my most formidable foes, weeds are nothing to take lightly. Like the gnomes which continually cause me distress, weeds are also determined to conquer my yard. Mallow, dandelion, and the most ruthless of all, bindweed, keep me up at night, sprawled out on the couch with a pile of gardening books on one side of me and a laptop on the other, scouring Google for insights.

When it comes to weeds, I've learned that one must tailor one's plan of attack to the most noxious weed in her own garden. For my garden, that weed is bindweed. Initially, I assumed that tilling the garden would be enough to disrupt the weeds and give me the upper hand, but I hadn't yet fully realized the awesome staying power of bindweed, and it's ability to regenerate itself from one tiny sliver of massacred root. When that grew clear to me, I then tried double digging an entire 3ft by 10ft piece of my yard, sifting through every bit of soil with my gloved hands and manually removing any trace of root that I could find. A few weeks later, I became aware of the futility of my efforts when the entire plot was once again covered with the eerily cheerful, bright green foliage of the bindweed, which had sprung forth like a phoenix from the ashes - or rather from the many pieces of root I failed to find coupled with the spaghetti like deep roots buried deep within the earth - stretching as far as twenty feet underground and able to regrow whenever they so desire.

Undaunted by my previous failures, and by the taunting of gnomes who occasionally peeked from their hiding places to assure me of my inability to conquer my leafed foes, I flung myself into researching bindweed's weaknesses. I considered advice from many sources. One gardener suggested "lasagna gardening", a technique used by many a successful gardener which entails laying layers of paper, cardboard, or other specific compostables over the weed infested area, creating a barrier through which weeds are unlikely to grow, and then piling fresh soil on top in which to plant. However, I feared the introduction of a new enemy which might come about as a result of applying this method - soil contamination, from the chemicals indigenous to the glues and residues present on paper and cardboard. And, as I sought even more voraciously the green-thumbed wisdom of the aged, sage gardeners of times past, it became apparent that only one solution - one weapon - could possibly afford me the victory over my leafed foes which I so desperately desired - black, woven, plastic mulch. 

A sea of black plastic, and it's here to stay.

Since that revelation, I have ushered in a new era in my garden. Rows of overlapping plastic now fry bindweed leaves continually as they emerge from the soft soil unaware of imminent doom. Eventually, their mother roots will be unable to survive without the renewing photosynthesis their leaves would have provided them, and they will meet their end, rotting back into the soil they once contaminated - leaving only healthy air pockets where they once drained the life from every other botanical life form. And then I will revel in my victory.

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