Drought Pauses With Rain; What Grows Is Disturbing

Kansas Viewpoint

Undesirable plants flourish with slightest rain while what I want to grow still struggles in drought

Published on: August 28, 2012

One thing I noticed this week is that when it rains, vegetation grows.

That was a lesson almost forgotten in the blistering hot, incredibly rain-devoid months of drought June, July and most of August.

The lawn didn’t grow, the garden flowers barely stayed alive and all the annoying unwanted growth pretty much stood still.

Then it rained. Really rained, like 3 inches, rained; enough to put drought on hold for days, maybe even weeks.

That was all the unidentified woody shrub that keeps popping up next to my front porch needed to grow 6 feet overnight. It was also all the hated Bermuda grass needed to put out miles of runners every hour on the hour,

My roses did not suddenly spring into bloom and the near-dead petunias and marigolds made a mere nod toward resumption of life. Way too late for anything in the vegetable garden. That has been toast for weeks as a result of drought that never seemed to end,

What I don’t get is why do the things we DON’T want grow so rapidly and prolifically in spite of overt efforts to kill them and the things we DO want barely stay alive with the gentlest and most coercive of actions?

Are we cultivating the wrong things? Is there secret life power in strange woody shrubs and Bermuda grass? If I began harvesting the stuff and eating it (or at least letting the parent plants see me blanch it and put it in bags in my freezer) would Bermuda grass suddenly become resistant to cultivation?

If we suddenly starting baling kochia and spraying sorghum, would there be a reversal that allowed sorghum to thrive in spite of two months of 100-degree heat with no rain and kochia to stunt and die with prolonged drought?

At the very least I take joy in realizing that one day we will able to harvest the genes of these wildly successful weeds and implant them into the crops that we want to grow.

Because we are farmers. And we’re smarter than weeds. I hope.