I must regretfully announce that we are under siege here at the Rabbit house. No, it’s not the gangstas across the street. They’re moving out. I think the property manager decided to oust them after every upstanding citizen on the block called to chew her a new one. She probably figured it was easier to evict a pack of lowlifes than to face the wrath of a horde of suburbanites bearing pitchforks and minivans.

No, there’s a new enemy afoot. This bad guy is sneaky. Conniving. Aggressive. Destructive. And above all, persistent. The new invader threatens our very way of life, in fact.

See, we live a quiet life in tune with nature. I compost food waste and bunny poop. I grow my own vegetables. My farm accounts for easily 1/250 of our summer subsistence (the other 249/250 comes from peanut butter and pizza). But all of that could be lost. My garden could be decimated by that most vile transgressor- the blackberry.

(For the apartment-dwelling geek crowd, I am not referring to Personal Dung Assimilators, or whatever the heck PDA stands for.)

Brambles. Those twining, traveling vines of death. The cursed blackberry has established itself in my backyard. And a wily species it is. Much like the multi-headed snake that Odysseus slew, no matter how many vines I destroy they just come back again and again, stemming from root bases which can probably be traced to Osama Bin Laden or perhaps Saddam Hussein.

Yes, blackberries are the terrorists of the plant world. True, they make delicious fruit, but if they have their way (and they do, oh how they do) you eat blackberries and only blackberries, because they choke the life out of anything else you might try to grow. When the blackberries grow out of control (and it can happen in the blink of an eye), there are no succulent snap peas, no tender lettuce leaves, no sweet carrots poking hopefully orange out of the ground.

What to do? I am organically-inclined and do not want to spray herbicides of any kind near my crops.

“Roundup!” says Technogeek. “It’s perfectly safe!”

I don’t believe it. For one thing, Roundup is made by Monsanto, a company that has been described by some as the poster child for Corporate Evil.

Did you know that Monsanto has produced (and it is in widespread use) a “Roundup ready” soybean? It has been genetically engineered to be impervious to Roundup, and therefore, farmers can spray the stuff all over the soy crop to kill the weeds but leave the soy unscathed. Doesn’t that just give you the toxin-sweating heebie jeebies? All you folks drinking soy lattes- you’d be better off with organic cow milk. Seriously.

So no herbicides around my garden. Instead, I’ve been chopping vines and digging out roots wherever I find them. My weapons are the traditional ones. Spade. Hoe. Elbow grease. My enemy is mighty but I am, well, less mighty. The underdog. Root for me (as it were).

War is hell.


25 thoughts on “

  1. i always eat my enemy in that case…but then it commits espionage from within and well…creates dissention within the bowels of my body politick.  Evenutally berries of this sort are able to stir rebellions and im forced to expel the evil inside me.
    good luck in your war…

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words at my site the other day.  I just wanted you to know howvery  much I appreciate it.

  3. But at least the fruits of war can be picked while the battle is being waged.
    Seriously enjoyed this post as I am currently in the midst of plant battle with my botony class. Good luck to us both =)

  4. It’s interesting to read what particular weed is someone’s nemesis.  (For me, it’s Japanese Honeysuckle. I guess I should consider myself lucky that it isn’t thorny.)  And I was astonished to read that it’s illegal to plant butterfly bush in Washington because it’s a weed there.  Here, it doesn’t seem to pose a problem.  Hmmm.  I will probably remember this entry when I go blackberry picking this summer.

  5. I had nightshade and egregeousone suggested pouring boiling water on the roots.  Not sure if it works because it’s still too cold here for it to come back but it might be worth a try.

  6. The blackberry… ah…if only that were my enemy. I discovered in my backyard none other than the most despicable of despicables… poison ivy. It was terminated (yes… I asked them to use professional quality Roundup) but I’m still worried that under that layer of snow which we still have, there it waits to poke it’s ugly self out. It’s too close to my Lily of the Valley patch. You can beat your enemy into pies and jams, but alas, woe am I.

  7. The Morning Glorys’ do that here! ‘Tis terrible, they grow over, cover everything, snakes growing through the night… cut them, and they’re back, slithering their vine-y tendrils around the trees, the roses, the bushes, snaking over the grass itself! Oh, do I know!

  8. Oh those blackberries, that seem to send out inch thick ‘runners’ at the rate of about a foot an hour! The trail I safel walked down yesterday may be blocked today. The brambles have minds of their own, reaching out to snag the unwary. On the other hand, I made blackberry liqueur last year from a very fine vintage of eastside berries. It’s superb, has a wonderful ‘nose’, and slides down like silk.S2

  9. I used to have 2 sets of neighbors I couldn’t stand. Sounds like a lot, but I live in an apt complex, so I have about a hundred all around me. I hate it.
    Anyway, when both of them were FINALLY gone I was soooooo glad I wanted to throw a block party!

  10. Twas with mighty effort that the visigoths were defeated.  With much blood spilt, and injuries both grevious and foul, that we overcame our foe.  Now must we needs keep them from a most unhappy return; and this shall be the true measure of our victory, that the land shall be ours again.

    Fight Fight Fight!

  11. Yes, some birds (I assume) brought us the joys of blackberries where we don’t want them. I do want them, just not in the front yard in the midst of my penstemmon next to the driveway. I’m wondering if I can dig them up and transplant them. We did get some good berries last year.

  12. You know, I hadn’t realized how prolific blackberries could be until I read this book by Bryson on Australia.  Apparently some fool back in the day brought some over there and now they are wiping out native plants (Incidentally the bunnies brought over there by some other moron are even worse)  Good luck getting rid of them.

  13. Wow, since I have a brown thumb and kill whatever plants I come near just with my aura, I don’t know much about gardens. I had no idea blackberries were weeds! Thanks for being the source of the new thing I learned today! And, um, good luck usurping those evil blackberries!!!

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