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Fresh asparagus with mint.     YUM!

Fresh asparagus with mint.
YUM!

I am at war. I’m fighting a mighty battle, and I’m not sure who is winning. This pernicious enemy goes underground and emerges in sneaky places, taking me by surprise. Right now I’m convinced I’m outnumbered, but there is no way of knowing for sure how far this one will go. Just when I think I’ve decidedly won a battle, I blink, and discover a new line of attack. The latest is in the asparagus bed. I’m talking about the spreading mint, of course.

When I first decided to put mint in my garden, I was aware of all the dire warnings — DON”T DO IT!   Full confession here: I think it was arrogance on my part to believe I could control it. I’ll just stay right on top of it, I thought.  I really love being able to pick tons of fresh spearmint for summer time iced tea, or special garnish or sauce flavoring, or even just for rubbing between my fingers when I’m out for a garden stroll.  I had the perfect spot in my raised bed veggie garden, all boxed in, surrounded by landscaping cloth and wood chip path.  Dear hubby Jack even put in extra deep edging all the way around.  As my mint flourished and looked contained, I grew lackadaisical about it.

Sure, I’ve had to hack back some stragglers now and then, but mostly it seemed under control.  Until this spring when lots of bright green mint began to show up along the garden path, ten feet away!  Jack and I (well, mostly Jack) undertook a fierce project to tame back this invasive — we raked back the wood chips and ripped up the hard-pack paths where the roots were growing along deep underground, and with our bare knuckles, going along inch by inch, pried out every last shred of mint root we could find.  In fact, the whole mint bed came out, I even sifted with my fingers to recover the tiniest bits of white root tips and get them gone.

The smart thing might have been to eliminate the idea of mint altogether, and simply plan on harvesting from a neighbor when I’m in the mood for tea, but , no , I insisted on burying a deep trash barrel in the same spot, drain holes in the deep, deep bottom covered with a fine wire mesh.  I have to say, Jack was a good sport the whole time, as he supplied the labor.  Okay, this may buy me a couple years of self-contained mint-pleasure before it finds a way to escape (mint roots can go down three to four feet when they’re desperate, I understand!) but I’m stubborn that way.  I want to have my mint and grow it too.

Anyway, we thought we had it licked, and I went on about the zillion other spring chores in the gardens, like trying to get my carrot seeds in and pry dandelions out from among the daylilies.  And then the mint began cropping up in the middle of the raised asparagus bed!  Now, asparagus grows from deep, deep roots, buried about a foot down.  The only way for the mint to get in is from underneath the twelve-foot path, under the high side of the tiered asparagus bed, and we’re talking here about eighteen inches deep!  How do I dig down to find the bottom of the mint without destroying my asparagus?  And the roots are spreading everywhere!  AARGH!

Oh Father, my Creator, and the Gardener of my soul, facing and weeding out the tenaciousness of sin in my own heart is a truly impossible task.  I’m unaware of the roots until some meanness or selfishness in me pokes up, and I hurt the one I love.  You alone can reach my depths, and root out the nature of my sin from its very source, and even then, only as I rely on You and sincerely yield to your loving conviction.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
See if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the way of everlasting truth.

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