Long ago, when I was a wee-young 20-something going to college, I was frequently asked, why horticulture? In fact, many people didn't even ask "why" but "what" is horticulture. Inevitably, there was always someone in the room who would pipe up before I had a chance to answer.
Their answer, and their poor attempt at original humor, would be to grow weed. Brilliant.
Do you honestly think that the reason I spent so much time becoming educated and countless thousands of dollars (still paying Uncle Sam back for that one) was to grow plants in my closet?
Now here is the irony: After six years of schooling and about seven additional years associated somehow with plants, I am working with weeds. But this time it is weeds, with an "s," and instead of teaching folks how to grow them - which I won't do - I am educating folks about how to control and kill them.
Next week, in conjunction with the La Plata County Weed Office, New Mexico State University, and the San Juan Basin Research and Education Center, La Plata County Extension will host two workshops that address the very issue of weeds. We will talk about how to identify them, how to manage their spread, how to eradicate them and how to create a scenario where weeds may not even be an issue.
On Tuesday, we will have the 17th annual Four Corners Weed Symposium, and on Wednesday, we are trying something new: an Organic Weed Management Conference.
Both events will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the La Plata County Fairgrounds, and will feature the most updated information on weed control and management from experts throughout the Rocky Mountain region. The cost of each event is $25, and that price includes snacks, a local lunch and even a chance to win one of many door prizes.
But the best part is the tremendous amount of take-home information you will get. Presenters on each day will be the experts - from Colorado State University, New Mexico State University, our local weed office, (which has more knowledge and resources than almost anywhere), and multiple federal organizations.
As far as I am concerned, that is a pretty sweet deal for $25 a day.
The thought of weed control can be a daunting and even intimidating task for many. It includes the identification of weeds - at any stage - overwhelming to even this horticulturist. It may include the use of chemicals, which in turn includes the potential hazards associated with those chemicals and the mismanagement of them.
Lastly, it also encompasses the overall management of your property, your land or your farm. This holistic thought process of what you do on your land affecting thousands around you may keep you up at night.
So attend the workshops - because in addition to all the food, prizes and knowledge, we will also give you a good night's sleep.
or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent
of the La Plata County Extension Office.