Sunday, May 03, 2009

Where's The Party?

It would be completely irresponsible of me not to provide a proper update on my plant murder herb gardening, which began on a cold(ish) February evening in the backdrop of the Academy Awards. Beyonce was shaking her money maker with Hugh while I was being all Kabbalah-y over my peat plugs and saying, "Grow. Grow."

If I knew then what I know now, I would've just gone to the nursery to buy some herbs already started but let's just say about $150 into the project there is hope. (And maybe that's really the lesson here, right?)

Applied Learning is always an interesting experience. It has, yet again, fostered a list of things I would do differently. I would like to go on record as publicly smiting peat pellets and casting them into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone. Sure they will sprout your seeds all luscious like, but quickly they turn on you and you're left with little green sprouts begging you to save them and you don't know what to do to help. It's exactly like when Mr. _______ kicked Nettie out and she was screaming and crying, "Why? Why?" Eventually the drama passed and I pulled up a tomato seedling. Tomatoes that were turning into creeping ground cover, that is. And just for the record, tomatoes are supposed to stand upright because, oh right, they're plants, not ground cover. It's been awhile since I took any biology classes but immediately I could tell something wasn't right. There were no roots. Just a decomposing peat plug.

I dug further. The results were eerily similar. Basil was suffocating. Oregano - which I understand means "kudzu" in Italian - vanished overnight. As did rosemary. And let's not even talk about dill. And it wasn't just my stash that was affected. I'd given some, back in the heyday of green promise, to my friend Carli and hers, too, met a similar fate.

The good news is I still had seeds. And so I cast them again, this time into the hanging coconut fiber baskets I had intended for flowering annuals. They refused to rise. I watered a dirt basket routinely, but they remained barren. My mother, over Easter weekend, renewed my faith by sending me home with 5 tomato plants from my Mrs. Greenjeans aunt's hothouse. 2 Roma, and 3 Steroiditis which, I'm not even kidding, scoffed and kicked sand on my little Big Boy Hybrid ground covers as I planted them in their containers. That cool February night remained a genesis at the forefront of my thoughts and a little voice whispered something in my ear. I filled a small pail with water and placed them in a sort of purgatory, hoping they would revive.

Quickly they did. The stalks grew white whiskers overnight and by week's end their wilt had passed. I bought more 5 gallon buckets and suddenly found myself with 11 viable tomato plants. Progress! Cutting my losses I opted to buy petunias anyway for my hanging baskets and as I pushed back dirt in one basket I was stunned to see tiny seedlings erupting. It had been nearly 3 weeks since I'd planted them and I'd given up hope.

Obviously I couldn't kill them again deliberately, so we've agreed they can stay as long as they want. I may have the only petunia-infused cilantro in the world!

I also transferred the surviving herb seedlings into one large pot where, oddly enough, the fennel seemed to be flourishing. It's in a protected corner of the patio and already things are perking up. I seeded, yet again, two additional clay pots of basil and they rewarded me by sprouting just 2 days later. And my complex has plotted spaces for residents and the tomatoes have moved to a fully sun-exposed location where I'm pleased to report they are flourishing. Yes, the hothouse plants look amazing, but at least the others are standing upright.

Moral of story? Don't lose your faith. Pray for the harvest, but keep on hoeing.

1 comment:

CAC said...

You are much more patient that I am! But I did go out and buy some herbs that were already growing to replace the duds-so I am just pretending those are the ones we started with weeks ago-mmmk?