Howdy Farmers! Welcome to winter quarter 2012! I know all of you think that winter must be a slow time on the farm, but there is actually tons of fun stuff to do to get ready for the spring season. Something that really helps maintain the farm over winter quarter is everyone’s favorite task: weeding. We have at the farm an unwanted guest, the highly invasive Arum. Other weeds, like Chickweed are relatively benign and can be used to feed the chickens! Arum, however, is a highly invasive species here in Seattle. Native of the Mediterranean, Arum unfortunately grows quite well in the humid climate of the greater Seattle area. When arum is identified, it is in our best interest to pull it immediately. Make sure, however, that the entire plant is removed from the ground, including the peanut shaped node (it is best to use a tool or your finger to get all the way down and push the plant out from below). This is because the arum effectively reproduces by a system of offshoots that can compound to make infinite amounts of new Arum plants. If the root is left in the ground, the Arum can continue to reproduce. There are several ways in which we can prevent the spread of Arum. When making new beds, gardeners often cover an area with cardboard and then a layer woodchips to create a dark space, which the Arum cannot grow. Since Arum usually targets disturbed areas bare of any plants, it is extremely valuable, among other reasons to cover crop our beds! An easy short-term response to Arum infestation is to whip the tops off, which at least robs the plant of its solar energy. And an even better practice of, of course, is to get down and dirty and physically pull each plant out of the ground. In light of the invasive nature of the Arum plant, it is vital that we throw away the remains of the plant in the dumpster! At any rate, anybody can help to prevent and eradicate the Arum plant, which will ultimately yield better crops and better food!