It was early March, the peak of our freak heat wave. Chatting with my neighbor I ran my gaze over the winter beds which should have been dark and fallow. Instead, green was popping up everywhere.
I hate grass. It is the bane of the garden. I have trenched 8 inches deep and wide around the outer perimeter of my garden fence to keep the lawn at bay. Still, somehow it seemed to have crept all the way into the center of 1,200 square feet veg beds.
I began obsessing about the super-grass, wondering if our weirdly warm winter had somehow mutated it into the green goblin of the plant world. I instructed my helper to dig it all out and dispose of it with the landscape waste. I didn’t even want it in the compost. If it could creep 5 yards in 5 months I wanted it out of my yard entirely!
He’d already cleared half the garden when I found time to join him one lovely (read: bizarrely hot 80 degrees in March) morning. I crouched down and started ripping out the grass with the vigor of Farmer MacGregor. I paused to wonder over a pea sprout. “Huh,” I thought, “I wonder how wild peas got in my garden?” I continued destroying the Super Villanous grass and discovered hairy vetch seedlings.
“Cool!” I thought, “I’ll weed around the vetch, I want to keep that. How nice of Mother Nature to send me wild peas and vetch…Wait a minute!”
I closed my eyes. I opened them to stare at my helper who was digging out the stretch of supposed nuisance weeds a few rows over. If there are any light bulbs left hanging over my head, one dimly flickered at that very moment.
It was my cover crop. I finally got around to sowing the cover crop last fall, late one night, after midnight. I like to garden after midnight. The cover crop must have gone out on one of my late night jaunts home from the local tavern.
We’d been ripping out my lovely, nitrogen fixing, tilth building, soil enhancing fall-mix cover crop for over a week.
After smacking myself across the face, soundly and several times, I instructed Z to put all the stuff he’d dug out back onto the beds and turn them over again.
He ignored me.