Not So Wild About Wild Onions

After a spring rain, when the soil is soft and moist, I pull wild onions. They grow wherever they can gain a foothold. They hide within the emerging foliage of perennials. They must be dug out completely or they will regrow. My tool of choice is a spud hoe, used for popping out tap-rooted weeds such as dandelions. The hoe, a thin square shaft with a snake’s forked tongue at the end, is slid down through the soil next to the shaft-like leaf of the onion. The handle is rocked back and forth to loosen the roots grip on the earth below. My other hand grips the thin stems. A bit more rocking of the hoe, a gentle tug,a satisfying “thunk” as the bulb releases from the ground,and from my muddy fingers dangles a small white bulb,with chin whisker roots. The pungent odor of onion fills the moist spring air. Success.
Larger clumps are remove with a trowel. The entire mess tossed into the refuse bucket.
I imagine most gardens have some such scourge, a self sower run rampant, an invasive spreader, a tentacle -rooted beast. Gardeners strive for their eradication but semi-peaceful coexistence is the most that can be hoped for.
At my previous garden, bindweed was the enemy.It sprouted everywhere each spring. I dug it out by the handful.I carefully followed the roots back through the ground to the large mass of tangled spaghetti-like roots I jokingly referred to as the mother-lode. It wrapped itself around fence posts,other plants roots, nothing stopped it. A few years before moving we replaced our driveway. When the contractors lifted the old concrete,there it was, the ultimate mother-lode,one hundred and fifty square feet of bindweed roots. I could only laugh.
Now, each spring, as I pull my wild onions,I think of that bindweed. How it must be growing now under less watchful eyes,just as these onions will spread when I am no longer here to restrict their profligate ways.


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