Who’s going to plant some mystery seeds?

Published 10:03 am Monday, August 3, 2020

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Larry McDermott

Life on the farm


So far, this year has been a rough one. It’s like snapping out of a hypnotic state only to find yourself strapped to the back of a bucking Brahma bull who hates your cologne and the horse you rode in on.

And now the “mystery seeds” have arrived.

Someone, possibly in China, is sending unsolicited packages of seeds to random people in the U.S., prompting state officials coast to coast to issue warnings to us all. Do NOT plant those seeds. Meanwhile, the government is analyzing the seeds and we should know the results in a few years.

Right away, though, my first thought was this. Who would be naive enough to plant seeds they know nothing about? That would be like breeding a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle just to see what you would get. Oh wait. Somebody already did that and look what we got.

Steve Troxler, the North Carolina agriculture commissioner, issued an official notice warning people not to plant the seeds, but no farmer worth her salt lick would plant them anyway. You know, however, that someone is going to plant those seeds. Just as surely as you can say “Labradoodle,” someone is going to put them in some dirt, water them and wait to see what comes up.

I mean, it’s their right to plant them. Just because a high-ranking state official says “don’t plant these seeds” doesn’t mean he can stop them from being planted. He’s merely saying use some common sense to protect us all. But, he’s not the boss of us, right? Just because someone with knowledge and expertise says the seeds might result in invasive plants that could sweep the country and cause ruin to land, crops and waterways doesn’t mean they are right. Right?

Of course, if someone plants them we might wind up with Fudzu.

Fudzu would be the son of Kudzu, the plant brought to America in 1876 and touted at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition as a soil erosion prohibitor. Southerners decided it’s beautiful, lush foliage would easily grow up their porch timbers and provide shade and relief from the scorching summer sun.

I’m guessing that today, somewhere in Georgia, there probably are skeletons sitting on porch swings in their rocking chairs with their bony hands wrapped around empty sweet tea glasses, and the entire scene is covered with the original kudzu they planted for shade.

What, you might ask, would fudzu be like? That’s a great question, Karen. Thank you for asking.

Fudzu would be an intelligent plant with the ability, when eaten, to impart good thinking and analytical skills to humans. Thus, it would be in great demand. Who doesn’t want to sharpen their mind and be able to discern right from wrong, truth from fiction, reality from conspiracy, safety from danger?

Fudzu. Maybe we should grow some.

Larry McDermott, a retired journalist, owns a 40-acre organic farm in Rutherfordton, where he grows blueberries, keeps bees and raises horses, dairy goats, and chickens. Email: hardscrabblehollow@gmail.com or see farm happenings at www.facebook.com/hardscrabblehollowfarmllc