I love plants. I love to have them in my home, and to tend them, and watch sprouts appear from the soil like a tiny promise. Turning the recyclables into terrariums and and then hanging out with Man Cub to fill them is a delightful afternoon activity on a slow weekend. Then every time one of the seeds turns to shoots, we both get a little giddy – the teeny miracle of a little green head poking through the soil is an osm present.
A couple weeks ago we received a gift of five seeds from one of Will’s friends who grew a 400lb pumpkin (400lbs!) and Man Cub and I were super excited. The seeds were as big as the end of my thumb, and round – I’d never seen pumpkin seeds that big. On Thursday (that’s the 10th – a mere six days ago) we stuck them in a container and put it on the windowsill. By Sunday afternoon, we could see hardy roots through the bottom of the container, and by Monday, we had sprouts. As of last night, all five had come up –
and by the looks of the bottom, we’ll need to clear a spot and pop these babies in the ground outside this afternoon when Man Cub gets home from school.
The veggie patch outside is doing really well, in spite of the fact that outdoor gardening is far from my favorite thing in the world. I don’t like the way that gritty stuff feels under my fingernails – dirt, clay, chalk, all of it sets my teeth on edge. Gardening gloves were made for people like me – and there are a bazillion different kinds of bugs in the garden that I will* have an allergic reaction to. In spite of that, as well as an allergy to certain chemicals that commercial landscapers use on other people’s fancy lawns** to
poison the water table treat grass, I always want a garden by the end of wintertime.***
So I start seeds indoors, and sometimes the seedlings even make it outside. Let’s talk about Coleus the Wonderplant, for a moment: I got her as a tiny thing, a five inch sproutlet. Coleus is an annual in our area, meaning that the frost will kill them off, and you have to plant another one the next spring. So, I, um, just never put her outside. Four years later, she is a lovely, bushy, 3′ tall and 4′-ish wide, flowering, adult plant who lives in my sunroom. She seems to be pretty happy there, especially since the cats think she tastes terrible. Snowball likes to sleep in the throne beside her and stick his face up in the leaves, but that’s about the long and short of it \o/
But veggies don’t do well indoors. You need the wind and the bugs and the rain to pollinate that business or it just won’t fruit. And so the gardening gloves, the resolve, and the patch outside. This year we have zucchini, beans (including a scarlet runner bean plant that was sprouted while on retreat!), tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, strawberries, basil, mint, chives, wild garlic, some stray onions that were sprouting in the bag that got stuck in the dirt, collard greens, and sunflowers (in hopes that the squirrels will fancy them more than the other stuff). It’s bordered in the back by the flowers that Will has been tending into a gorgeous thing – pink and orange poppies (zomg, the poppies!), peonies, roses, irises, lilies, scotch broom, geranium (annual my butt – it came back from the dead, yo), catnip (that something keeps eating down to the stubs, and yet it perseveres) – soooo pretty!
Already we’re seeing teeny-tiny strawberries and peppers and cukes, and the collards are getting bushy! I can look out at them from the porch in the morning, and go weed while it’s still cool. We put up bird feeders that have attracted a ton of flying allies, so we have less bugs than we could have.†† All around, it’s working out well, and we expect to have a harvest this year =D
Also I have eleventy bajillion itty bitty lettuce and asian greens sprouts in the sunroom that will be ready to transfer to bowls really soon†. And the woad is sprouting from their egg carton starter dirt! It’s just very exciting all over. This weekend or early next week I’ll need to pick up some potting soil and get everyone settled. And decide what stays in and what goes out. I’d like to get a hold of some whiskey barrels at some point for the lettuces and the herbs. I have oregano and basil and thyme in the kitchen that might benefit form being outdoors, but I don’t want to lose them in the crowded veggie patch. We shall see.
But this afternoon’s project is definitely the pumpkins. Please wish upon us 400lbs – I would so love to can up pumpkin pie filling for everyone in October. And, harvest willing, there will be summer pickles! Maybe even tomato sauce =)
*Dear Friendly Earthworm – I know you’re generally into a diet of dirt, but could you please to eat some spiders for me? XOXOXO, Apple
Dude – spiders are the worst. I’m allergic enough to have an epipen for bites (I landed in the hospital from a bite when I was a kid), and if I even brush up against a web, my skin erupts within the hour. It’s disgusting. Mosquito bites swell up to a painful hard bump the size of a quarter, and little bites from other bugs almost always turn into either welts that mimic hives, or a patch that resembles road rash. When I was a tree climbing ten-year-old, my knees were always a bright reactive red and flaking around the bumps during spring. I’m pretty sure that I’m not built for rolling in the dirt.
**I’m looking at you, ChemLawn, you fuckers. Whatever crap you spray to get rid of mole crickets eventually floats off in the air, and makes the skin slough from my face in sunburn-like sheets. Ask yourself this: if you have to put up signs after you treat a lawn that warns people to keep their pets and small children off the lawn because it’s poisonous, are you really doing anything that’s not a disservice to the land? ‘Cos, you know, I thought that lawns were kinda made for children and small animals to romp on. that’s what I thought, anyway. Gah – stupid suburban solutions.
***I forget that I have an aversion to the heat too x.x
†If you’re local to me and would like some lettuce sprouts, let me know – I’ll save some for you =)
††Holy carp – we didn’t fill them for a week, and the birds went looking around elsewhere for a few days, right? WASPS – we got fucking wasps! Needless to say, we’re being vigilant about filling the feeders again, if only to make the area unattractive to the wasps. So far, so good.