Many of us love to order the big battered and fried onion that several restaurants offer on their menus. Pull apart that crispy goodness, dip it into that zesty sauce, and YUM! We love our southern-grown sweet Vidalia onions, too. But the onions in our yard and pastures are not so sweet. Supposedly, this “yard” variety is actually a garlic, but it sure smells like onions when you mow them down. So, please excuse me, but I call them onions.
During the winter at our house, the onion “sprouts” are the only green in our yard, since we have Bermuda grass that’s dormant during that time. Winter is sometimes a little depressing for me, with shorter hours of daylight, and all the more reason to fuss when I see so clearly all the onions I still haven’t conquered with my weed killer. I have yet to find anything chemically that will kill those prolific pests. (Please let me know if you know of anything that works!) The only thing I have found that works in bush beds is to dig them up as you dig down to plant a bush or a flower. No, you can’t just pull them up because the root is too deep and the stem breaks off, so you have to get down to the root of it and get it all, every scrap of root, or you will still have an onion at some point in the future. And every time you think you’ve gotten them all, you turn around and see another sprout coming up. Even with a yard full of them, our bush beds are clear of them now, finally. I think.
Our yard is mowed regularly (thanks to my other half who loves to mow), and as the grass greens in the late spring, I forget about the onions – until I smell them when he mows. But, at our house in the country, we have “perimeter areas” around pasture fencing, along crop edges, and around tree lines that are mowed or bush-hogged only on occasion, nothing regular. Weeds tend to mature a little longer before they are wacked down with something. A couple of years ago I noticed that, when left unhindered, the onion sprigs would develop a seed head. And if left long enough in the ground, these things would drop many more seeds, and the following year you’d have about 25 new plants for each one you had the year before. Depressing, right? (OK, maybe it’s only me.)
I was horrified when I saw the first seed head close enough to realize what was going on with the life cycle of these “reasons to lay awake at night, fretting over their existence”. I reached immediately to pull one out of the ground, and, VOILA. It pulled right up with no struggle! Maybe their roots turn loose a little to put more energy into producing that seed head. “Yay for me,” I thought. And the challenge was on! So that year I started pulling onion seed heads in one pasture area as a test. Last year I didn’t pull any because we had other, more pressing problems to solve, but this year I got back to the task. My eyes were tuned in to these tall, “stemmy” sprouts, any that had developed a seed head. Before our vacation in May, I pulled three or four wheel-barrow loads of these things and put them in the trash. No, don’t compost them!!! Don’t burn them!!! Don’t let even one out of your sight until it is locked tightly in the trash can!!! Yes, I am OCD about the onions, you can surely tell. And I know everyone, including my patient, head-shaking husband, probably thinks I am crazy pulling all 500-plus (or 1,000-plus, but who’s counting?) of these things by hand. And I am! Crazy and OCD about onions, that is.
No, the picture above is only a small portion of all I pulled, working many hours before leaving on our vacation, trying to rid our place of any and all of the sprouts. As we rode out the half-mile driveway to begin our 14 day journey to California and back, I spotted a few along a tree line, standing proud and tall, as if waving good-bye and saying, “Ha-ha! You missed us! We’ll drop our seeds while you’re gone. Lose sleep over that while you’re away and can do nothing about it!” After working so hard to accomplish my task, I had to remind myself that I’d done the best I could with the time I’d had and to not let it ruin my trip by worrying about those stupid blankety-blank onions. I was confident in the fact that I’d taken every opportunity to pull all but only a few out of the ground before they dropped their seeds.
Imagine my surprise upon my return to see them still standing tall, seeds intact and now purple in color, but, another surprise – many more than a few. Well, the race was on again! With a million other things to be done, I spent a heated afternoon pulling another trash bag load. It was during this session of pulling that I decided weed extraction, which I do a tremendous amount of even without the onion project, is a perfect time for prayer. Think of all the hours doing this mindless task! If I say a prayer with every weed I pull, that’s a lot of prayers! And a bonus is that I can put my mind to something while I work and make it much more enjoyable. “OK, Lord, thank you for each and every weed/prayer you have for me today. They are awesome blossoms!” Yes, double productivity is very appealing to me. It’s just another part of being OCD! Woops – didn’t mean to rhyme, but oh, well, who gives a hoot?