Today I weeded the Three Sisters garden in the playground.

It’s sixty-four mounds of corn, beans, and squash. Some mounds are in better shape than others. We were late digging out the sod, late bringing in compost, and late planting. As a result, the weeds have a leg up. Or, not leg. A root system. And tendrils.

Each mound is two feet across, which leaves lots of room for weeds and grass around each mound to take what inches or miles they can. I uprooted the ragweed and pigweed with sheer force, taking care not to cut myself on the pigweed spines. Crabgrass and nutsedge, lamb’s quarters and plantains–they’re not that hard to pull out.

Today’s bane, however, was bindweed, Convolvulus arvensis, often called “morning glory,” but they’re much smaller than true morning glories. My son’s best kindergarten friend called them “vanilla flowers.” She picked them from their playground by the dozen.

She can have them.

They grow fast, and they twine around everything. The corn was stout enough–it would have been fine without me. The beans were in a twirling fight they might have won. But the squash, the third sister, was the last thing planted, so she’s small. I tried yanking at the bindweed, but ripped one Hubbard seedling right out, and didn’t get the weed at the root. To be safe, I had to unravel the little vines and pinch, over and over.

I will see them again tonight as I fall asleep, I’m sure. I’ll close my eyes and see their arrowhead leaves, and turn, and toss, and probably curse.

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