Monday, June 7, 2010

Sticking it to my garden

                                                     This isn't the brand I used. But it is organic.

 One of my many, many faults is that not only am I stubborn, but I can also be spiteful. Just a little. But don’t talk to my husband about this because I’m betting he’d be pushing that level more towards “completely.”

 I’m going to blame this on my therapist from some years back, who did such a good job convincing me not to be a door mat, he pushed me to not only stick up for myself, but also to stick it to them. Them being whoever is annoying me or angering me at the time. Maybe he didn't really teach me that per se; maybe it was just one tiny side effect of very effective counseling. Whatever. It’s a terrible cross to carry, truly it is.

But carry this cross I do, because as any good Catholic knows, life is not worth living unless you have many, many crosses to carry, and lots and lots of baggage to go with it. Not only does this give you things to write about, but also a reason to get up in the morning just to prove to people for the rest of the day that you don’t suck. That, and the priests need someone to talk with every Saturday at 4 p.m. during confession.

The latest root of my anger is my garden.

A few days back I walked out to check on the status of my organic seedling transplants, only to discover that three more tomato plants died. Two out of 20 corn seeds came up. Three of my 15 Italian beans sprouted, and are currently being eaten by an evil chipmunk. All my cucumbers died, and one of my healthy looking pickling cuckes just ate it as well. This on top of the devil ants that are consuming an entire bed, pushed me to the max.

I’m pissed. I’ve never lost so many plants before, for reasons I cannot explain. What’s a spiteful gardener to do?

I understand that a garden isn’t a live being, capable of plotting growing failure just to push my buttons, but that’s how it feels to irrational people like myself. That my garden is out to get me. Thumb it’s leaf at me and snicker as if to say, “Oh, yeah? You thought you were doing something right? Ha! Looks like you’ll be spending twice the money at the farmer’s market this summer, cackle, cackle, cackle. Organic-shmanic.”

Well, it just so happens that I have saved all my extra seeds from last year, CONVENTIONAL seeds purchased at Ocean State Job Lot for about a buck each. Not the fancy pants organic seeds I got sucked into buying this year because the catalog was shiny and colorful and full of optimistic potential. I also payed a visit to my local nursery and purchased four different types of tomato plants, already strong and tall. I went home and grabbed those seedy-low-class-unused packages, my new transplants, and headed to my garden. Come hell or high water, I’m going to get something to grow.

In one of my empty beds I planted an entire package of romanesco cauliflower. 8 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart like they suggested? Hell no. In three rows, right next to each other, so the seeds don’t get lonely. And crammed in next to that I planted an entire package of brussel sprouts. Close together. Willy nilly.

I headed over to the defunct corn that never surfaced and reseeded the entire bed with my cheap-ass corn seeds from the bump-and-dent-store. Three to a hole, so I can thin them as they grow? Absolutely not. I stuck five or six corn in every single dirt pocket. I figure at my rate of losing things this year, if one comes up from each plant, I’m doing well.

I also planted an entire package of green beans, four to a hole; two rows of spinach seeds, two rows of butter lettuce, and also a row of romaine starters, just to be pissy. As luck would have it, yesterday I went to check on the garden, and some creature has already dug up some of my lettuce seeds. Looks like the garden is going to be pissy right back.

I’m curious how my organic seeds and plants will feel growing next to such low-life genetically modified (no doubt) seeds. I’m thinking that socio-economically mixing the seeds and plants is probably a really good thing, and may encourage those hoity-toity organic ones to start producing something, if just to be competitive and snarky. Maybe the organic seeds smelled the mediocre middle-class status on my hands and refuse to grow just to put me back in my place. Who am I to require such non-tainted, pure food? Please.

 Right now it’s the waiting game. By the time I leave for Arizona in a week, those seedling should have germinated, and hopefully will be peeking their little red necks, excuse me, green necks out of the soil. I’m curious if I’ll have better luck with conventional seeds versus the organic…you know how hearty salt-of-the-earth things are. And if that’s the case, if my conventional seeds grow like weeds and provide me pesticide free food all summer, while my organic seed lay on their garden beds complaining how hot it is, while pooping out one or two things to eat, I know what I’m purchasing next year.

Mediocre seeds and plants. Ones that sing the same song I do.

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