See this plant?
Until last year, I barely realized it existed. But now I know it intimately by name: PLANTAIN.
Of course, I’d seen it before, but I never really noticed or cared much. Not until I had bought my first house, which included my first very own lawn, and this nasty weed threatened to TAKE OVER MY YARD.
Not that I’m one of those Cardigan-wearing Lawn Nazis who insists on perfectly-manicured grass and who hoses down their driveway every morning.
No. Far from it.
My lawn is a mix-and-match of all kinds of flora, including some actual grass. I don’t mind a few weeds…my yard doesn’t have to be perfect.
But it WOULD BE NICE if it looked slightly better than a weedy soccer field (which is what I would have had last summer, if I had let these Bastard-Plants win).
I wasn’t thrilled about using herbicide chemicals (Splat Creek has a by-law against it, plus there were little magotty kids running around next door). I’d have felt just awful if they’d have gotten toe-cancer or leprosy 30 years from now.
So the only other choice was to remove the weeds manually.
But Ugh. What a daunting task. There was plantain by the HUNDREDS.
This infestation also happened to coincide with a really bad phase at work I was going through at the time. I was in a really toxic environment, working with a Quintessential Fuck-Wit who made my job so miserable it started affecting my health.
So when I came home totally stressed out, I actually found it fun to rip out the plantain. Suddenly, this wasn’t just a weed problem anymore. It became my LIFE MISSION.
So that’s what I did. I ripped out the plants. One by one.
I didn’t go nuts. I did it maybe 20-30 minutes a day, and then I’d go fishing or do something else. But it was surprisingly therapeutic. Rip out the Bad…leave the Good behind. Rip out the Bad….etc.
And sure enough, my nice lawn started to re-appear. Every day, a few more feet of territory gained. Within 3 weeks, the plantain was gone.
Veni, Vidi, Vici….I had defeated the Vile Weed! It was immensely satisfying, much more so than anything I had accomplished at the office.
But this year, I’m dismayed to report that the plantain is baaa-aack.
There’s thankfully almost none on the Western Front where I waged battle last year. But the troops are starting to gain a stronghold on the North-Eastern Quadrant (The Disputed Territories of the Back Yard).
Of course you know, this means WAR.
So this year I tried something Different: CHEMICAL WARFARE.
(Now, don’t worry, I’m still being a good little green Friar, I just used vinegar). I sprayed it on the weeds, and was delighted to see the leaves shrivel up and turn brown after a day or so.
YESSSSSS!!!! I had disrupted their photosynthesis process! There was a delightful patch of brown death there the plants used to thrive. It was my cheap version of Agent Orange. I thought I had defeated the invader, once again.
Though it appears to be just temporary. New green leaves are re-appearing as we speak, amid the acid-burnt carnage.
It’s not dead..it’s resting. I’ve just stunned it.
So now it’s back to manually ripping the little bastards out by the roots. To help me, I bought one of those forked garden weeders, and it’s doubled my weed-killing efficiency.
I’ve also changed my tactics slightly. Instead of composting the dead weeds as yard-waste, I just let their uprooted corpses slowly dry out in the sun. Over the next day or two, I take the satisfaction of watching them DIE! DIE! DIE!
Then the lawnmower mulches them up, and returns their souls to the soil, from whence they came.
So I think I’m winning the battle again.
I never realized how caring for a lawn had such CONFLICT and DRAMA.
But part of me wonders maybe, just maybe….I also need to get a life. 🙂