Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Kind of Magic.

There are few things in life so simple, and yet so incredibly magical and satisfying, as seeing a new green plant come up where once there was only a seed. Its particularly satisfying when you have spent a whole lot of time planting seeds only to have them not come up.

I have to admit, I've not had a whole lot of luck with seeds. I prefer to plant seedlings, which are larger and more tangible and considerably less likely to blow out of your hand by accident. Seeds often tend to be these tiny little barely there units, and I never know how many to plant, where and how deep. Plus, and let's face it, this is a pretty big reason, seeds often have to be planted inside, weeks and weeks before you can put them in the garden. I am nothing if not a "last-minute" sort of girl, and while I realize that planting seedlings is a bit of a cheat, I still feel like at least I am guaranteed some sort of result. Even if its just to watch my poor seedlings die a slow and miserable death.

So when I went out to check on the progress of my newly planted tomato, cucumber and zucchini seedlings and suddenly realized that my bush beans had all of a sudden just popped up, I was overjoyed. It was quite extraordinary: one day there was nothing but a seemingly bare plot of dirt, and the next day there they were! Some were still bent over under the dirt, just about to push their necks up straight and unfurl their first leaves. The more I looked, the more sprouts I saw juuuuuust about to come up. I just stood there for a moment, looking at them and feeling grateful. Each tiny little bowed neck was like an affirmation; of nature and of spring.

I certainly hope to become a more competent gardener, so that it might become more rare for my carefully planted seeds to NOT sprout. I may, in seasons to come, lose some of my wonderment at this incredible transformation.

But I truly, truly hope I don't.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Proof you CAN get carried away.

I know, I know.

On another note, I got a rare "chicken hat trick" the other day.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Built in trellis?? Check.

Built in irrigation system with timer? Check.

Bunny (Chicken??) proof meshing? Check.

Stunning good looks?

CHECK. [droooooooooooooooooooooooool]

Gardening 101.

One of the most educational aspects of learning to garden is learning what the plant part of a vegetable looks like. Unless you grow your own vegetables, you may have NO idea what the leaves of a zucchini plant or a tomato plant or broccoli actually look like.

Now, ideally, you'd plant your veggies in nice neat rows, carefully labeled, so that when things DO start sprouting, you can pretty much figure it out because you have several plants all in a row that look the same. That's how I figured out what broccoli looks like, or the carrots (although carrots are pretty easy, since you can often buy them with the tops still on at the store).

But, let's say you had, oh, chickens. Chickens who, despite your best efforts, get past your barriers and into your garden.

[editor's note: well, "best efforts" is an exaggeration. It was a haphazard effort at best. Just face it, you were outsmarted by a chicken.]

Those said chickens could then scatter your poor seeds all over the place and eat up most of them. Surveying the devastation, you assume its all over; that there's nothing left to sprout. So a few weeks later, when you start to see three or four strong green plants with thick dark green leaves you think, hmm. Did I plant that? Or are they weeds?

You decide to watch it for a few more days, and soon, they look like this:

You stare at the plants for a few minutes. They are sort of haphazardly sprinkled around the raised beds. They are definitely not broccoli. Not any sort of lettuce either..and definitely not carrots.

They have to be a weed. So you give one a good yank. Boy its in there good! But you pull harder, and finally up it comes.

The potato you had shoved into the dirt optimistically several weeks ago, and forgot about. Back then it was in a nice neat row. Drat.

So you shove it back down in the dirt and hope it gives you another chance. Or at least, a couple of baby potatoes before its time to plant the tomatoes.

Assuming, that is, that the chickens don't find it first.