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Re: The Joys of Weeding

From: celia storey <storey@aristotle.net>

Kathy Guest writes:
>But, on the other hand I have just been advised that I have one of the
>scariest weeds of all, nut sedge.  I have further been advised that this
>should NOT be pulled (something about spreading the 'nuts'), but rather dug.
>I wonder if I could use Round-Up then??  Anyone have any experience with this
Experience? I have enough for you and two other people. Add the four of us
together and it spells AAAAAAGH!
Yellow nut sedge will indeed grow new bulbs from even a hairline rootlet
left in the soil when you yank out a weed.

Our State Capitol display beds have been in various stages of lousiness
with the stuff for years. We are just now gaining the upper hand, thanks to
a faithful twice-a-month group weeding session in which our club
perfectionist, Wendell Hall, delves into the dirt to snatch out as many
nuts as he can.

Wendell is a psychologist, so you might say he's task-qualified.

Some of these nuts, by the way, can be more than a foot and a half down.
You think you're pulling out an individual stand-alone baby, but no, you've
got an intrepid settler sent upward to colonize the surface while the
mother monster waits down below. In the dark.

Wendell uses his digging fork to break up a two-foot area, then gets down
on his knees and starts feeling ever so carefully for bulbs and tendrils.
They come out as networks.

Now, our county agent swears that any bulb will die eventually if you keep
pulling out the foliage as it appears. Sooner or later the bulb will
exhaust its energy. But I've been trying this with nutgrass in my garden
for two years. Those bulbs are mighty energetic, almost as energetic as
greenbrier vine and trumpet creeper, and you know what they're like.

As for tasting and stewing the nuts, a lady on our weeding crew, Loice
Peek, grew up on the Mississippi Delta plantations in a sharecropper family
during the Depression. She swears her people ate nut grass nuts -- raw and
roasted. All the time. Some people would collect rucksacks full and store
them up for winter.

And yes, she made me sample one. Its taste improved my appreciation for
these 1990s, happy years in which we do not have to go about stockpiling
nut grass to see us through the winter.

Little Rock, Arkansas, USDA Zone 7b
257 feet above sea level,
average rainfall about 50 inches (more than 60" in '97)
average relative humidity (at 6 a.m.) 84%.
moderate winters, hot summers ... but lots of seesaw action in all seasons

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