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Worst gardening mistake I ever made

Don’t read this post. It will ruin the whole illusion for you. Right now, as far as you know, my garden grows weed-less. My flowers are always crowned with a glistening morning dew. My local farm stands always have lush offerings, and my hair always holds a perfect curl.

Why are you still reading?

Ok, fine.

I brought it on myself, really. It’s not like I don’t know what happens when seeds fall into soil and water lands on them.

Last year, I had a beautiful chive plant. It grew nearly 4′ tall and blossomed snow-white flowers. Those flowers were the trendiest new bar in town for my neighbor’s honey bees. We were all so happy. Me, with my beautiful flowering chive, and the bees with the nectar.

chives stepped back

In fact, those flowers were so pretty, I let them stay in bloom in September.

And since there were a few late bloomers, I didn’t cut them down as they went to seed in October. Oh wow, did that chive plant know how to make seeds.

We were in the middle of a major renovation of the first floor of our farm house, which is probably why I got lazy. I never did go back and clear out that dry, seedy chive plant.

And those seeds went everywhere.

Boom. Seedling explosion.

The following Spring, roughly 10,000 baby chive plants sprung up all around my garden. It was intense. A 4′ diameter around the momma chive blanketed with her hairy little babies.

chives wild.JPG

Tough little suckers, too. I could pull and tug. Those seedlings just snap in half and grow a stronger, chunkier root ball.

I spent some time digging around the garden bed with my bare hands to pull up the chives. Maybe, I got 8,000 of them. Mostly I just gave up and planted some hearty green bean seeds in the bed with the chives. Figured some sturdy, little green beans would be capable of bursting through the chive forest. And they more or less did.

I’d like to say that if I could go back in time I would cut down those pretty white flowers before they caused me trouble. But, I probably wouldn’t. Circumstances being what they were. My family knee deep in construction debris, and me spending my evenings shimmying between towers of moving boxes to microwave frozen burritos.

Update! How I fixed it

After following a cycle of sprout-pull-resprout for a summer season with those chive seedlings, I was able to clean out the chive bed. In the early Autumn, I went in and dug through that bed with my bare hands. First, I pulled everything out that wasn’t a chive. Then, I went inch-by-inch through the garden soil, driving my hands below the surface, feeling for chive roots and lifting them out completely.

An half-hour later, there was a pile of little white chive root balls and green shoots in our compost bin. My back ached for two days, but I got a great leg and shoulder workout. I suspect there will be a few more chives to pull out next season. I’ll be ready. Of course, that would mean that letting one plant go to seed one time cost me two seasons of work to undo.

Oh well, only time will tell if the chive baby bomb retains its place as the worst mistake I ever made in the garden. But for now, champion crowned.


7 thoughts on “Worst gardening mistake I ever made

  1. Ha! Same thing happened to me. I finally got the garlic chives under control except for a small bed I didn’t get around to planting this year. Now they are in full flower. If I had cut them down a few days ago everything would have been fine, but now tropical storm Florence has blown in and is probably scattering the seeds hither and yon.

    1. I thought of you when I clipped my chives this morning. Hopefully, you don’t have too much to deal with next year.

      1. I originally planted my garlic chives as borders around two circular planting beds. At first they were sparse and I was happy when they multiplied and filled in the bare spots. I regularly kept them trimmed back for many years, but after going to seed several times they got out of hand and have been a nuisance ever since.

      2. Whoa, that would be a beautiful design. But clearly it bit back.

  2. Our chives have not yet tried to take over but tomatillos have, ground cherries are not far behind and wonderberries are bringing up the rear. We’ll be maintaining Tomatillos in the same row every year and vigorously weed the ones that spring up elsewhere. Probably should treat the other two the same way.

    1. All good warnings to others! We appreciate it.

      I do still plan to plant ground cherries next year, worth the risk.

  3. […] not hard to weed out; it’s a pretty simple vine. I’d say, oh I don’t know, chives are a much bigger problem if they go to […]

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