Putting Down Roots

killing plants
March 21, 2011, 11:23 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Today I woke up late and lumbered out to the garden to water the seeds and seedlings that are leading the parade of the spring garden. I’ve become that neighbor, the one who works in the yard in her bright pink nightgown, and I don’t even mind it. We’ve got squash and cucumbers and green beans and zucchini and tomatoes and potatoes and corn and basil and eggplant and watermelon all starting to come up. It was a puzzle to remember where everything is, as most of the new plants are tucked around things–sugar snap peas, rutabagas, fennel, lettuce–that we’ll have to pull up soon, when it gets too hot and they go to seed.

As I did my scavenger hunt, I realized that  some of the cucurbit seedlings (squash, zucchini, cucumbers) that I’d planted on Thursday had wilted and died, and that the green beans seeds in my own little row, which should have come up by now, were showing no signs of life. It reminded me of a workshop Nathan had led with Louise from Turkey Hill Farm. Nathan asked anyone who had gardened for a season before to raise their hand, and to keep it up if they’d gardened for 1 year, and then 2, and 5, and so on. Nathan was trying to demonstrate that there was a whole lot of knowledge in the room that could be shared with the folks present who had never grown anything. Louise, then, made a brilliant move: she asked the people who had been gardening for years to keep their hands up if they’d killed hundreds of plants. All of the hands stayed up.

It’s such a nice reminder: you’re in good company any time you kill a plant you should have been sustaining. For all the little ones that I didn’t keep alive in the past few weeks, there are rows of plants that are flourishing. This afternoon, I’ll get down on my knees and put something else in the ground, and maybe those ones will make it. Or maybe not.


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