Helping Works

Goatheads, bad. Prizes, good. Trade in weeds during ‘Stomp Out Puncturevine’ campaign

Owning a ranch, I’m no stranger to the evil goathead.

Yes, the thorny noxious weed is commonly known as the archenemy of the bicycle tire, but I have a special hate relationship with the puncturevine.

It’s a recurring nightmare every summer — taking care of chores out by the barn and tracking in the prickly beasts to be stepped on by bare feet. And even though work boots are taken off in the mudroom, a few spiky fellas always seem to make their way inside the house.

So every year, my husband spends hours outside with a shovel to protect our cows, our pets’ paws and our own feet.

The weed can get out of hand quickly — spreading by seeds — so the best solution to getting the situation under control is to dig up the plant prior to seed production. Otherwise, you’ll have to make sure all the spiny burrs that have fallen off the vine are also picked up.

It’s still hard work, regardless of when you tackle the infestation.

And even though landowners are required by Idaho law to control noxious weeds on their property, an incentive to make the plant pulling a little sweeter wouldn’t hurt, right?

The Nampa Bicycle Project, partnering with the Nampa Parks Department and Nampa Code Enforcement, launched the “Stomp Out Puncturevine” Campaign to collect 1,000 pounds of goatheads.

Individuals or teams can take part in the challenge “by pulling the weed, bagging it and bringing it to the Nampa Bicycle Project booth at Nampa Farmers Market to be weighed and recorded on the last Saturday of each month, through October.”

The Nampa Farmers Market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday, through Oct. 26, at Lloyd Square Park, 13th and Front streets. But the goathead collection will be only on the last Saturday of each month — July 27, Aug. 31, Sept. 28 and Oct. 26.

Local businesses are sponsoring the campaign by providing prizes for the largest weigh-in.

This Saturday, July 27, your haul could win you a gift basket with $50 worth of Flying M Coffeegarage goodies. And free latte cards will be handed out to everyone who weighs in at least five pounds.

For more information or to follow the campaign, go to or call LaRita Schandorff, director of the Nampa Bicycle Project, at 208-412-6660.

The Boise Bicycle Project is also challenging the community to pull, bag and eliminate the weed — 8,000 pounds of it.

Bags can be dropped off at North End Organic Nursery, 3777 W. Chinden Blvd., Garden City, during business hours, through July 31.

Awards and prizes will be given out at the Boise Goathead Fest on Aug. 2-3, with winners announced at 3 p.m. Aug. 3.

For more information, go to

Michelle Jenkins compiles event calendars, archives and writes a Helping Works column for the Idaho Statesman. She attended Boise State University and grew up in New Plymouth, Idaho.