Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My (Weed) Garden

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells,

And a lot of other damn weeds.
I know just how Mary feels. The intention was to raise some wildflowers in a small patch of dirt on the south side of the house but somehow, things went horribly wrong. The idea was to attract butterflies and birds for the camera and to make prize winning photos but nooo, what I got was weeds, lots of weeds.
Yes, I followed the instructions from the seed company last fall. Lightly till the soil so as not to awaken the bad weed seeds. Plant the flowers no more than 1/8 inch deep and mash the seeds into the dirt. Water as required. What could possibly go wrong? What happened was I got a crop of oats that I could have fed half the city of Tulsa with. I know, right now you're saying, where did the oats come from? The oats came from the year before last when I foolishly bought some straw bales to hold moisture for the newly planted Bermuda grass seed. What I didn't realize was that the straw contained about 3/4 billion oat seeds that contaminated the lawn, my neighbors lawn, and possibly a few showplace lawns in various locations between here and Texas.
This year would be different. I bought a product called Round-Up that not only kills weeds but everything with even a  hint of green. I mixed a batch, doubled it, and sprayed liberally all the while mumbling something like, die you little bastards, die. But there was still the matter of the seeds below the surface that Round-Up couldn't touch, patiently waiting for just the right conditions to take life, sprout up, and laugh in my face.
But the secret weapon, the coup de grace, was the plastic; a sheet of clear plastic, weighted down, and large enough to cover the entire flower plot. The theory was that the heat of the sun would come through the plastic and be held there, sort of  like a little bad seed oven set on High, and fry those little oats and weeds to a crisp, never to be seen again.
A few weeks later I removed the plastic and viewed the scorched earth. No growth, nothing. One could almost imagine a few small animal skeletons, the bones bleached from the sun. Once again, I planted the wildflowers according to specific instructions, watered, and waited.
Today I have a lush bed of the greenest, healthiest oat sprouts you've ever seen in your life. If there's a flower in there somewhere, it will never see a single ray of sunshine.  Tomorrow I'm calling the Quaker Oat people and see if they could use another farmer.

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