One of the many projects we have going (while we wait for fall seeds to mature) is to find an adequate site to apply soil microbes for the biocontrol of cheatgrass. Did you know there is a microbial control of cheatgrass and other winter annual grasses? It’s pretty neat. Research scientists from Washington State University and USDA-ARS have painstakingly isolated the bacteria Pseudomonas from the roots of yellowing winter wheat. This bacteria produces a toxin that targeted the winter cultivar, which they then (through a long process) applied to a few of the invasive winter annuals that plague the arid west. The cost per acre is equivalent to the lower price end of herbicides, and can be delivered by spraying or coated on (wanted) perennial seeds. They are working with many agencies to put this method into widespread practice.
But in the meantime…
Cheatgrass. It’s everywhere! Why not use it to our advantage? I’ve noticed its natural tendency for its seeds to work their way into everything, so I thought, “Heck, just go with it.”
To make all-natural, (somewhat) organically grown socks:
1) Go to work. Preferably fire monitoring at the ol’ Spring fire, which was not seeded.
2) Let it in. Roll your pant ends up once or twice, just enough to expose your ankles. If your pants are a little on the short side, like mine, you can skip this step.
3) Walk. And walk and walk and walk. It’s that easy! You can just walk to your site, and continue your daily work routine. If you want to go the extra mile though, then do so (probably on your lunch break). Don’t worry about taking off your shoes to get the cheatgrass seeds all the way to the toe of the socks. They’ll get there, trust me.
4) Admire the tenacity of cheatgrass. It really is everywhere, isn’t it?
5) Launder. You might think this would remove the seeds, but it actually helps them weave deeper into the fibers. Make sure to turn your socks inside out! Wash and dry. Cheatgrass likes high heat, and your fancy wool socks don’t, so do that.
6) Re-evaluate. Stop for a second and think about what you really want.
6a) If you’re still thinking “WOAH, cheatgrass socks! What a great concept!”, then repeat steps 1-5. Eventually, your sock fibers will be entirely replaced by cheatgrass seeds, and you will have killer calluses covering your feet.
6b) If you’re starting to miss your old, soft socks that didn’t constantly poke your poor feet, you might want to think about reversing the process. This will take 1-3 hours and must be done by hand with excellent lighting. Good luck!
Carson City BLM