Note: When I wrote this, the audience members I had in mind were farmers from  The Farming Forum community in UK. This is a real forum, but don’t go there just because I told you about it. I’ve already worn out the welcome for visitors outside of the agricultural profession. Sorry to have spoilt it for any other Yank that might’ve had intelligent questions to ask. Sorry also to have reinforced the stereotype that all Americans are obnoxious.

Today I was considering the fact that if I were to buy any plants from a home improvement store, I must find out the exact day when the truck would arrive or there was no point whatsoever. The fastest way to kill any plant is to put it inside a chain link enclosure with a cash register. Then, suddenly…

I had an epiphany! The perfect solution for those insidious weeds that plague you farmers out there. Forget chemicals! What you need to do is sponsor an employee of Lowe’s or Home Depot. All they need is a hose and a vest (polyester waistcoat) and yes, probably a UK cell phone provider. Stick them in the field where the weeds are the worst and tell them that black grass is your cash crop.

“All right. I’m putting you in charge of this black grass. Look here, this is black grass. What is it?”

“Black grass.”

“Very good. And what’s your job?”

“To look after it.”

“Excellent. Don’t worry about these ‘weeds’ over here. I’ll take care of those. It’s above your pay grade. All right, I’ll leave you to it then.”

In a matter of weeks, or possibly even days, your fields will be completely weed free! Yes, it’s a bit of a pain to arrange for a work visa, but just think of the thousands of pounds that you will save in chemical purchases! Yes, they’ll whinge and have a snotty attitude, but whenever you check in on them, just put in your earplugs and shrug and gesture.

What? Sorry. Can’t hear you.


In a similar fashion, you can use them to keep away crows.

(Or in our case, starlings! Vile vermin that cost an estimated $800 million losses in crops every year and, more importantly, coat cars with crap if anyone should be so foolish as to park their car under a tree. Thank you very much, Eugen Schieffelin. Every farmer in America falls into bed exhausted but comforted by the thought that we have every species of bird from Shakespearean plays. But I digress.)

I’m sure you can come up with some other pseudo job for these slackers to do out in the fields. Yes, yes. I know what you are thinking:

“Won’t they just stand in one place texting? That’s no better than a scarecrow.”

Yes, I thought of that as well. That’s why you will need to have this little conversation within earshot of your “farm worker.”

Friend: “Cell reception is crap out here.”

You: “No, no. Not at all. I find that if I keep moving the reception is very good.”

Friend: “Ah, so what you’re telling me is that if you keep striding up and down the perimeter of your fields you never have a dropped call?”

You: “Yes, exactly.”

Friend: “Thanks for the tip. I’ll have to remember that.”


Problem solved. You’re welcome. No need to send gifts or money, your undying gratitude is thanks enough.


*Sorry, no. This isn’t a solution for our current refugee problem. They would be too conscientious. It must be an American between the ages of seventeen to twenty-five or it won’t work at all.

Although…It could possibly work if we got some sort of exchange program. That would be a win-win situation. American gardeners would be delighted.

“Look, honey! I planted this whole row of salvias and they all survived!”

Host parents would be thrilled too.

“You know, I think our son has really turned a corner. He was telling me just the other day that he’s almost saved up enough money to move out of our basement.”