One jalapeno on my jalapeno plant. Meanwhile, I kill embryonic sunflowers like nobody’s business. And meanmeanwhile, my mother’s fledgling garden has generated a goodly amount of tiny tomatoes already.
I no longer have the internet in my home. This has been a good thing, as it helps keep me focused and centered, all those foundational things. It also means I’ll have less opportunity to blog, but that is not altogether bad, considering how little I do it.
I spent much of the weekend on the back porch, getting some much-needed Vitamin D, looking at the blooms on my jalapeno plant, reading Carson McCullers and writing Not!poetry during National Poetry Month. Why must I be so difficult?
I learned this weekend to dread the sun reaching the upper branches of the tall tree in the back yard of the home two houses to the west, as it signaled the beginning of the end of my outdoors day.
Ah, cilantro plant, I barely knew thee. Now, you are nothing more than brown tendrils, like the hair of a voodoo doll, streaming out over the blue clay pot that is your burial plot.
On to the next gardening fail: baby trees. I donated to the Arbor Day Foundation and received 10 dormant baby trees just before leaving for a weekend vacation. Following the directions, I put the saplings in the refrigerator.
I spent Monday at dusk trying to prepare a protected garden spot for the youngsters, digging up a variety of thriving weeds. When I come home tomorrow, I’ll put the saplings in a bucket of water to prepare for the planting.
After a year or so of being planted in the protected area, the saplings, if they survive, will be transplanted to their permanent spot in the year.
Kids, this is a multiple-step process, allowing a lot of room for gardening fail. I hope I’m able to pull this one off. My front yard in particular could use some arboreal improvement.
So I bought a big, bushy cilantro plant at the grocery store. Noticing that it was root-bound, I transplanted it to a ceramic container and have been keeping it indoors to save it from furry predators.
Naturally, it’s more or less dying. A few shoots are showing signs of life, but the majority of it is flaccid. My luck continues…
I spent the weekend traveling to and from Huntsville, the return trip being 5 hours long and made me realize how much I hate traveling through the mountains. Not just hate, fear. Terror. Trying to breathe normally going up a mountain and trying not to think about what can happen if the car stalls and we start sliding backwards. After the 30th hill, I felt exhausted the way a sailor must feel after days in rough seas, a bit sick from all the up and down.
Down to three plants, which is to be expected since I’ve had surgery and have been slightly out of commission. I want these three plants to grow to maturity so I can figure out what the hell they are. And then, of course, try again in the spring with mature tomato plants so I have a better change of getting more than one veggie for my trouble.
My one surviving jalapeno plant is still surviving and bore the tiny jalapeno I’ve ever seen. I consulted with this overly talkative farmer at the farmer’s market who was selling jalapenos, and he said the secret to good gardening is chicken manure. So I guess there’s an advantage to having chickens besides just the eggs.
Meanwhile, due to an emotional breakdown my son had when his grandfather made him release a caterpillar back into the wild, I mail-ordered some caterpillars so we can watch them spin cocoons and turn into butterflies. Of course, they arrived on the weekend we were out of town, and I was sure they were all going to be dead. Luckily it had merely been chilly and not deathly cold or boiling hot in the mailbox, so they all survived and now two have emerged from cocoons as butterflies. We’re waiting on the laggards now.
Last week, the seeds sprouted, the greatest part of gardening for me so far. It’s the potential before the reality sets in and the darn things start dying. I feel like apologizing to the sprouts in advance. The seedlings include pumpkin, a replacement for the sprouts the yard guy decimated the last time he cut my yard.
Am installing a fence by myself. Had been considering it for a while now, with the occasional teen cutting through my corner-lot yard, sometimes accompanied by a small dog, but the tipping point happened yesterday, when a gang of mindless teens were taking the pomegranates off my tree and throwing them at some other tree in order to get a football down. When I went outside, some of the pomegranate got on me in a kind of “splash” damage, which they thought was hilarious. The mouthy ring leader of the group, who doesn’t even live in the neighborhood, tried to reassure me by saying the destruction was “environmentally friendly.”
So in a rage, I bought fencing supplies yesterday, but I’m not going to be able to put in my fence without a postholer. And I also should probably buy a gate so I can actually get into my back yard from my carport.
August was brutish and hot. My gardening skills were not.
I had started earlier in the summer (or late spring, forget the details) with the idea that I would start container gardening — tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro — most of the ingredients for salsa. So I bought some seeds and starter kits. And sucked.
The tomatoes didn’t sprout. The cilantro was carried off by a herb-loving chipmunk, I assume. And of the jalapeno plants that sprouted, only one made it to flower-bearing maturity — the plant that lived! — but hasn’t produced any fruit.
Coincidentally, on a lark, I planted a neglected spud that had a lot of eye-growth. Last week, after the plant died, I scattered the soil on the prospective gardening patch. Over the weekend, as I was working on aerating the soil, I discovered a small potato the plant had produced. So the only plant I didn’t try to “tend” ended up being the only one that bore fruit.
What has my failure taught me? Possibly the terra-cotta containers with which I was attempting to grow stuff rendered the soil too hot, particularly this summer, which was chock-full of 100-plus Fahrenheit days. And I suck at gardening