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June 13, 2007

Where The Big Things Grow

I wanted to title this, "Hey little girl come over and look at my big zucchini" but I am sensitive to the amount of perviness in that title and frankly I am actually trying to get rid of the kids in my neighborhood (shhhh, don't tell God) because they are loud and appear to have parents who just feed them sugar and caffeine all day and then set them loose right as I am getting home and trying to do such things as "relax quietly to myself."

Also I don't really want anyone looking at my zucchini without my prior consent.

Hello! Hi ya'll!

So, anyone who knows me at all in real life -- even with just five minutes of knowing me in their resume -- knows that I am completely crack-ass addicted to Self Help. I love to get my crazy on in the self-help aisle! I have always been this way, I swear to you I was the one five-year-old reading all the self-helpy children's books ("The Little Choo Choo That Could," anyone?) and I am particularly fond of the whole Psychology Of Happiness movement, which is basically just a fancypants way of saying that if you focus on the positive stuff, you won't so nearly as much want to sit in a corner eating your hair.

So, let us focus on the positives of this year's Grand Gardening Experimentation. There are many positives, the very biggest one of course being that anything at all has managed to grow since in my life I have about 2.8 minutes per month available to devote to the care and tending of a garden. I feel it is some weird Southern compulsion that makes me plant a garden vegetable or two or twenty each year, and then my more citified and also tired and lazy side thinks, "I planted your asses, now Darwinize! Survival of the fittest, baby!"

Here are the developments thus far in Bad Backyard Gardening 2007:

Somewhat Positive Slant On Bad Thing #1:
Victor the green-headed onion passed on. Yup, he's gone to meet the big Allium in the sky. He got brown and kind of crumbly, then he died. You may be asking yourself, What is positive about that? I did not know either. I in fact asked myself the same question. As you may recall, Victor appeared as a beacon of hope in my life when I was under a deadline that I was still keeping secret while also working full time, visiting the family, trying to stay sane and also find my pants. So I was a little sad when I discovered he had up and died on me just very recently. Then I realized I now had a nice, empty pot for the MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF PEPPER PLANTS springing forth from my patio region. And ya'll know I have to keep these special Texican chili pequin peppers alive because my dad planted them by hand, each seed lovingly put into the soil with TWEEZERS, and then put into a dome-like thingy and they all germinated and now I have peppers literally coming out of my hoohah. Well, not literally. I was maybe stretching the meaning of "literally." I do not for the record have plants in my hoohah. Anyway.

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Baby's First Pepper Farm.


Somewhat Positive Slant On Bad Thing #2:
I have also managed to get two pots um... recently vacated by previous tenants, both of whom were of the family name "Thyme" and neither of whom liked my fickle watering strategy. See, I like to keep all the plants guessing as to when they might be drinking again, I find it keeps us all on our toes. Also, I work late and sometimes it is dark and spooky outside, and I'm not watering anything except a wineglass at that hour.


Somewhat Positive Slant On Bad Thing #3:
The cucumbers don't like me and frankly, it's mutual. So we're on the same wavelength, I guess. That's positive! Also, why is it that after two months of growing cucumbers my next door neighbor Mrs. Lee has literally bushels of shiny, green cukes and I have managed to grow one (1) spindly, bitter-tasting cucumber that gave me a splinter? Oh wait. We're being positive ... so, the good news is that before long I will have three new vacant pots for my ever-growing farm of peppers. I hope the peppers bloom soon and start producing something. My dad keeps asking if they've bloomed yet and I feel like the poor first-time mom whose kid isn't potty-trained yet and she feels like they're already falling behind in development and will never catch up with the cool kids.

Somewhat Positive Slant On Bad Thing #4:
I planted six okra seedlings and so far, after two months of growing, the tallest one is still less than a foot tall. On the plus side, I did harvest one perfect okra pod last night, and I think the clouds parted and I heard angels singing, "Aaaaaaah." Also after that the angels may have said, "Hey ya'll, that's real pretty ... but how the heck do you fry up just one okra?"


And finally, Somewhat Positive Slant On Bad Thing #5:
Each year I plant a tomato seedling or two and each year I watch with great hope and wonder as absolutely nothing happens at all, then the small spindly dwarfy things just burn to a crisp in late June. So for the rest of the summer I'll have this big giant pot with a huge tall tomato cage on it and hovering near the bottom half is a sad little hunched-over ten-inch tall plant in the dirt. It's kind of comical really. It's the embodiment of hope and failure all at the same time.


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But we are not gardening with sadness and death today, we are gardening with selfhelpishedness! Which means that we look on the positive side, and that side is just around the hedge in the back 40 where I planted my okra in their raised bed with such care and precision, and then because I somehow had these two little zucchini seedlings and nowhere to put them, and they looked about half-dead anyway as soon as I got them, I just stuck one on each corner and called it a day.

Then night came, and more days passed, and while other things in the garden mysteriously mutated and died and passed on through the karmic vegetation loop, my backyard began sprouting forth with GIANT HUGE FORMIDABLE GADZUKES.

Those two little half-dead zucchini plants turned into a forest of squash. And they just keep coming! And nothing will stop them, not even my mysterious watering regimen. I left town for a few days and what had once been a teensy little four-inch zuke grew while I was gone and morphed into a Lock Ness Zucchinister!

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So I do hereby declare I am pretty much not going to plant anything next year except zucchini! Seriously. I now know from first-hand experience that there is nothing to make you feel more triumphant and FEROCIOUS in the gardening world than growing an eleventy-ton squash. I swaggered around the patio and told the tomatoes to enjoy the ride this year, buckos, because next year it's nothing but squash all the way! That's right. Sayonara little piddlyass plum tomatoes! Forget all about you, dumb won't-grow-for-nothing cucumbers. And okra, much as I love you, one pod does not a dinner make. Next year I am going to plant nothing but squash and watch the whole yarn turn into a scary funhouse of funky big zucchini.

Plus if I have a surplus I can use them as rockets on the kids across the street. Oh hah hah! You know I am JUST KIDDING. I would never do that ... I wouldn't dare harm an innocent squash!

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Posted by laurie at June 13, 2007 9:46 AM