Weed problem

Pick a winner.

Pick a winner.

(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

So Aunt Ruth heeded the call.

She ripped out her lawn last summer—to save water, to save the Earth. Yeah, she likes to remember that she took suburbia head on, that she tore out the old lawn on her knees with her bare hands, the blackening of the fingernails, the feel of a crumbled parched dirt clod in her iron grasp. Yes, that’s how she remembers it: Aunt Ruth, barehanded eco-gardener warrior chick. Although really, she hired a guy.

Anyway, now she has a low-maintenance, low-water, natively planted garden—except for the one lil’ patch of lawn her dog required (when it comes to lawns, all dogs are climate-change deniers). And anyway, now Aunt Ruth has weeds.

These weeds have been raised organically, without chemicals, and isn’t that great. Some of them are attractive—they fan out in a kind of succulent way, as if they are part of the plan, except they are taking the earthen walkway and pockmarking it without the order the rest of the garden strives so mightily to maintain. And then there are the shameless, a-weed-is-a-weed-is-a-weed weeds, the kind that break off in your hands as you try to gently rip their friggin’ roots from the gentle kindly earth.

The garden is all about order—Auntie Ruth would like something hip, chaotic and junglelike, but that’s a little too close to how her office looks most of the time. So now, faced with the chaos of weeds, what to do?

Turning to the teat of all knowledge, a Google search suggests boiling water. There’s a lengthy post from the Moscow (Idaho) Food Co-op about the virtues of vinegar. Natural herbicides like citrus oil, corn gluten meal, neem (neem?); natural pesticides like pyrethrum, garlic, hot peppers.

Pardon Auntie Ruth’s skepticism, but there was a youthful time when she tried peppermint oil and pepper in her kitchen to stem incoming ants. True, they didn’t like it. They just walked around it. That’s why we kill the Earth to begin with. It helps us with our multitasking, helps us get on with the day. And therein lies the rub.

Really, this is not an advice column. Except for today. Aunt Ruth needs your advice. How do you whack weeds organically? Effectively? With an old dog sauntering around the yard? What do you do? Jump on www.facebook.com/aunt.ruth1 and share.