Satisfying or Sisyphean?

100_3292 copyI have a weed problem. Or maybe I have a weeding problem. I spent the past weekend weeding the artichokes, which are busy putting on their winter growth. I keep them heavily mulched, which prevents most weeds from growing, but twitch (aka couch grass) has no problem coming up through even the deepest mulch.

I would rank twitch as my worst weed. It makes dandelions and thistles seem easy to pull. It grows faster than I can pull it out. It lurks amongst the roots of other plants, ready to spring back the moment I turn my back. It can even drill its way through my potatoes.

My fight against twitch never ends. Twitch grows year round, and if I relax for even a few weeks, it will encroach on the garden. Pockets of it persist, even in areas that are tilled annually and weeded weekly all year. I despair every time I see a blade of twitch poking up from a place I thought twitch-free. Controlling twitch is a never-ending, unrewarding job.

So, why do I sometimes want nothing more than to go out and pull twitch? Sometimes I’ll go out specifically to pull twitch for the sheer satisfaction of it. Especially where it is thick, and the soil is soft, you can pull it up in great branching masses of runners a metre or more long. Every crisp white growing tip I ease from the soil is one less clump of twitch in the garden. There is so much of it out there, that I can’t help but think I’ve gotten it all when I bring up runner after extensive runner.

I know the feeling will not last. In a week, the twitch I missed will be sprouting thick as hair on a dog’s back, and I will wonder if I actually weeded at all.

But for the moment, I have the satisfaction of several wheelbarrow loads of twitch dying on the compost pile, and an artichoke bed that sports more artichokes than weeds.