Nipping the Buds

Pokeberries.  Seems as if I have a cash crop of the plant this year.  Every where I turn in the garden I see the little seedlings poking their heads up.  I cannot even tell you the number of small plants I have pulled thus far. 

The sad thing is I know that I haven't gotten nearly all of them.  Before I know it, the plant will be so developed that it will have a tap root that makes it almost impossible to pull.  Once established if I try to pull a plant out,  I have to wade into the garden, squat down directly over the plant, place both hands, one over top of the other near the base of the root and pull with all my might.  Generally it results with me rocking and then falling backwards on my bottom with a broken off base and the root in terra firma.   I can't even disturb the dirt. 

If I pull the pokeberries when the leaves are small, I can lean into the garden and over the plant. I don't even have to be that close.  Sometimes if I spot a plant in the back of the garden I will have to lean in so far that I am balancing on one leg while keeping the other outstretched behind me (imagine a very clumsy ballerina dressed in mud stained khakis, bleached splattered t-shirt and green wellies) In using one hand, I will grab hold of the plant from the top and gently pull.  The plant plus roots comes cleanly and smoothly out of the ground. Voila.  One less pokeberry. 

But I have to be diligent in looking for these weeds.  I can spend hours weeding in one particular spot almost 100% guaranteed that I have pulled all the weeds and wouldn't you know, I blink and there are a bunch of pokeberries hiding behind my perennials. They are prolific. 

Pokeberries remind me of bad habits: those little annoyances that at first don't seem too bad but before you know it, they are firmly entrenched into your lifestyle.   In fact, they might even be camouflaged as not so bad habits. Yet, once they take root in your life they are a bear to eliminate. The bad habits seems to spread to others and they pop up every where you look.   

 Each year I vow to be more diligent in eliminating these weeds.  I don't like using any chemical sprays as I believe there are more long term effects to nature so I rely on hand weeding.  This year I think I am on top of it but I know come August I will see the pocked marked purple cluster of berries somewhere in the garden.  But, I also have fewer than last year. 

What about you?  Do you have any bad habits have developed into problems? What could you have done to prevent it?  Or could you?  Is it a matter of saying no to something or saying yes to something else?  Are you procrastinating doing something?  What happens the longer you let it go?  Does it develop into a bigger problem?  Does it go away? 

Of course to the birds the pokeberries are just fine. As analogies go, some "bad" habits might not be bad in another context.  It might take some reflection to see if there are any habits that are creeping in and preventing you from achieving your goals: to honestly reflect if they are bad or is there something unexpectedly good about them.  If you determine that they are hindering you, you might want to think about strategies to nip it in the bud. Pull out those pokeberries when they are easy rather than hard.