The Battle Against Alien Plants from Outer Space

 Greetings from the Urban Ranch.  I truly hope and pray that all our fellow GRIT bloggers and readers have not been harmed by the volatile weather that has been causing havoc across the country.  Here in Nebraska we have escaped the brunt of the storms that have ravaged certain parts of GRIT-land.  We have only had normal storms with enjoyable thunder and lightning.  I do like a good thunder storm but not one with tornadoes, hail, or damaging wind.  We did get some hail but it was only a short burst and teeny tiny little balls which were even smaller than a pea.  None of my garden plants were damaged.

The poor man’s patio is shaping up for this years display.  Across the top in the hanging baskets are Impatiens and up the sides are Begonias.  I kind of over bought with the Begonias.  I bought a flat of Begonias thinking that there were 24 in a flat when actually as it turns out there are 48 in a flat.  Yeah, so, I’ve been trying to give them a good home.  So far only 4 have be adopted out.  The four larger containers you see back by the wall on the patio now have zucchini in them.  I’ve always liked zucchini but have been plagued by vine bores that would kill the plant just as they started producing.  A trip to the local nursery gave the containers one plant and seeds for the other three containers.  So we will see how effective this method of growing zucchini will be.  Anyone out there in GRIT land have good recipes for zucchini bread, or maybe casseroles.  I think I just might need some with four plants.

As with all working ranches, things break.  Oops, I think I pulled a little hard on that last pull.  I’ve learned to boldly tear into mechanical things where most fear to go.  Most times it turns out OK.  I’ve worked on recoil starters before and the trick is to wind up the coil and hold it while threading the rope through the hole while tying a knot in the rope end.  That can be quite a trick and some folks just buy the whole assembly new and eliminate the tedious task of holding a wound up spring while practicing knot tying.  As for me, well, you know me, I’m always up for a challenge.

After wrestling with the spring and getting the rope through the hole at just the right spot, success rules.  Oh, yeah!!  Oh, yeah!!  Old Chomper, the lawn mower, is once again back on duty in his faithful undying way of keeping the lawn cut.  He has served faithfully for many years here on the Urban Ranch.  He was given to me some years back and needed a little tender loving care to nurse him back to health.  A few minor parts and his life here on the ranch as been remarkably reliable.  He might not look pretty, his wheels wobble a little when pushed across the lawn, and his blade might not be the sharpest in the neighborhood, but when the grass needs mowed, he’s the one I can count on to get the job done. 

Here is the vine plague from outer space.  It sprouts up every year and must be nipped immediately or it will take over the entire side yard.  I mistakenly left it grow one year and had a difficult time untangling the mess from the side yard.  This year I have cleaned it out early so as not to be overcome with frustration.

This is what happens if this vine isn’t kept under control.  It will invade your land and take over every square inch.  Then in the fall it will generate pods of fluff that looks like cottonwood fuzz and blow out a billion seeds all across the land.  I think it’s been sent here by aliens from outer space to terraform the earth.  Run for your life the end is near.

One day as I walked past it, the deadly plant reached out and grabbed me.  It was a long and difficult battle between me and the alien plant from outer space.  Relentlessly, I persevered with loppers and choppers until the deadly force of the alien plant was broken and brought under control once again.  There’s just nothing like a good fight with an alien plant to make a person sleep better at night.  Once again the neighborhood was safe from the invasion from space.  Hey, Jean, remember the old sixties horror movie called “The Day of the Triffids”.  It kind of reminded me of that.

The Urban Ranch Garden as it looks today.  All is well with the garden so far.  The radishes grew extremely well but went to all top and no radish.  I’ve never had that happen before.  I suspect the soil might have been just a little rich which made the tops grow out of proportion.  I’m about to take the net off the lettuce and harvest what is there.  I think there’s about enough for one salad.  What’s there looks really good and next year I’ll be definitely planting more.

Well, that’s about it for this time.  Until next time keep those plants watered and growing.  Harvest time is coming sooner than you think.  Be sure to leave a comment about how your garden grows.

Published on May 27, 2011

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