Thug Plant Life

For those of you that don’t know us… You probably haven`t realized that growth and development are not our strong points here at Screwball Kitchen. We grow, and we develop; it just doesn`t come naturally. We are self-taught. A lot that we have learned collectively has been learned against our will. This applies to plants as well. We have one Screwball that is the plant master. Our bouncing baby boy Precious simply has a green thumb and an overall green vibe that has plants turning towards him like he is Apollo incarnate. But that`s his world, not mine. He gets nervous if I get near his plants. When the days get longer, he starts guarding his yard. Last year he accused me of poisoning his plants with mold when I came to visit. I argued that I had not touched any of his plants, and he explained that mold must just follow me around. I picture him seeing me like Linus from the Peanuts` cartoon when my son talks to me this way.

Precious…in his grumpy voice….Look! Mold! Do you see that?

Fine then. Just sit there and drink beer and talk to your plants you weirdo. I know who you are going to call when you want stuff put into a canning jar or turned into a cookie.

Still, every year I make lots and lots of effort to grow a garden and keep house plants and start little seedlings and do all that happy springtime stuff that people do. Unfortunately, I tend to kill every plant I ever meet. Now please do not misunderstand; I do not waltz through people’s yards and leave a path of destruction and dead flora in my wake. It’s more like unintentional death. I either over water or let dry out. I roast them in the sun or let them die in the cold. The saddest part is knowing how hard I try to follow all the plant instructions.

I have had some extraordinarily successful crops in my life. One year, my grandmother joined me in my garden and showed me how to plant everything and what should go next to each other and all her grandmotherly wisdom. Well, not a bad year. But the sweet potatoes just did not grow. I had planted several hills, and well, nothing happened. I finally gave up. I moved out a few months later because we bought a house 2 blocks away. About 6 months later I was riding my bike in the neighborhood and stopped to talk to the new tenants of my old house. He made a comment about the crazy people that must have lived there before him because “they planted all these damn sweet potatoes”. At that moment I looked over into the garden area. There they were. The sweet potatoes had taken over the entire side yard. He showed me some of the ones he had dug. They were perfect. Everything a sweet potato should be. All they needed to flourish was for me to go away and leave them alone!

Same thing happened one year with tomatoes. I picked up some heirloom seeds from the local library`s seed library. I planted and petted and nourished. Then, nothing. I took a job assignment out of town and left the plants in the care of Wuffy and WowMan. They do not have green thumbs either. Of course, with me out of town the tomatoes took it upon themselves to grow big and beautiful and be the envy of the entire neighborhood. I have photos that I took back to the library to show them what their seeds were capable of. Again, the just needed me to leave them alone.

Heirloom tomato that Grandma grew from seeds we got from the local seed library.

I have had a garden every year. I have had some success. The biggest issue I had in the past was time. I did not get out there and weed and water the way I was supposed to. Then, for a few years in a row we moved around so every time we had a nice garden we would have to move and leave it behind. This led to gardens becoming a trigger to some sort of emotional response and then Pappy and I would argue and have fights about the garden. Somehow the spring planting triggered a negative emotional response. Where to put it, how to do it, just anything about planting a garden became an argument. What part of our garden upset us?  It took some effort to understand why we had started to argue about planting a garden. We figured it out, though, and got past it. Gardens somehow represented loss and stress instead of the fun we wanted them to be. Moving to a new home more than once, and the kids growing up and leaving.

Now we have to look at our garden from a new perspective. So, we vow to be happy and have fun. We are going to work together to keep the plants alive. It doesn`t have to be as large. We only need a few plants. Especially since I hover and overdo everything. So Pappy is going to be in charge of watering. I will fertilize when he`s not around, though. We will work together making sure everything gets the right amount of light. If the plants are alive and well, I will try not to touch them too much. It will be better for everyone.

This year`s garden!

I am still enormously proud of the sweet potatoes that I grew back in the day. I am glad I got to see them. They were truly something to behold. (Thanks, Grandma)

Peace Out.


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