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War on the Wort
Bar Harbor
Spring having finally put in an appearance, I’ve been allocating much of my “productivity” spoons to the garden. For the last two years, the weeds have been seriously crowding out the strawberries. So I have been attacking them.

Now, it’s important to note that THOROUGH weeding is actually counterproductive. When the strawberry plants have no nearby competitors, they spread out rather than up. This leaves the strawberry fruit lying on the ground, and much less likely to reach ripeness intact. With competition, the stems stiffen, lifting even heavy fruit.

That said, I am doing my damnedest to genocide the spiderwort.

When it first showed up, several years ago, I was like “Those purple flowers are really pretty. I wonder what they are?” Some Internet research revealed a plant that went by several names, the most evocative of which was spiderwort. It also seemed to be widely regarded as a pestiferous weed. Knowing that “weed” is a subjective and problematic term, I left the spiderwort alone, due to the beauty of its flowers. This was an error.

Spiderwort starts out looking like a patch of unusually wide grass or reeds. By the time it flowers, it can reach a height of 2 to 3 feet. In late summer, after the flowers have had time to pollinate, the strong stems holding them up… relax. THWUMP! Suddenly, a 2 foot radius of the garden is completely covered in limp spiderwort, stealing all the sunlight. And it puts down new seedlings at the perimeter. If you leave it alone, you will soon have a LOT of spiderwort.

The enemy is well dug in, in multiple senses. But, day by day, the front moves back. I shall not rest until they have been driven back to the sea! Well, okay, not quite that far. But I am gonna get them the hell away from my strawberries.


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