Well, it happened. I decided to start a garden. A container garden. You see, we had these pots just sitting around, ready to be filled with shit. To me, filling some pots with dirt sounded a lot less labor-intensive than building a raised bed. And since “Less Labor Intensive” is my Native American name, I decided to go with that.
What kind of gardening experience do I have, you ask? Very little. I’ve been known to weed, when I worry that property values are going to fall if I don’t. There are plants in our garden from the previous owners, and they are still alive, but that is due to their sheer will to survive no matter what the obstacles. I do nothing to help them.
My husband and I have toyed with the idea of growing vegetables before. I have this bucolic ideal in my head; one where my children will eat strawberries fresh off the vine, and I never have to pay for parsley again. This year we decided to go for it. We headed to the nursery and I picked out a few different things to try while Mike stood back and said, “Whatever you want. This is all you.” Did I say this was our dream? It might be more mine.
At any rate, here is what we’ve got:
Carrots: Mike was concerned when I picked these out. He said, “Those don’t look like regular carrots.” No, they look the balls that hang behind a regular carrot. But you know what? It’s all that’s left on the shelf. Let’s live a little.
I went online to check out how to care for carrot testicles, and came across a site that advises carrot-growers that: “Diseased plants should be immediately pulled out and burned.”
Fuck that. I am going to cut their heads off, shoot them twice, and THEN burn them.
I had no idea growing carrots was going to be a test of my combat skills, but I’m ready. Bring it on, carrot…if that is your real name.
Strawberries: Non nom nom. Let me tell you how excited I am about strawberries — see, my kids can eat a gallon of strawberries in less than an hour. I will be psyched if these grow. SUCK IT, SAFEWAY!
It was when planting the strawberries that I came across my first sign this might not go well. I was about to plant the whole bunch in one pot, when Mike came running outside to let me know that there were 15 plants in that bunch, and I might want to spread them out a bit.
“Oh…so it’s not just one big plant?…15, you say? Hm…We’re going to need a few more pots.”
Onions: Red onions! I enjoy them on my annual salad.
Here, again, I ran into my problem of, “you mean each one of these little things is a separate plant?! Shit.” There were about three million* (*this is just an estimate) plants in the pack I bought. I couldn’t plant them all, so I tried to fit as many as possible into one container. The internet says they are supposed to be 3-4 inches apart, so this will undoubtedly go badly. My need to not waste onions trumped my need to grow edible onions. That’s weird, right?
Garlic: I tried to grow garlic at our old house, and ended up with itty bitty inedible bulbs. But let’s go ahead and give this another shot, huh?
By the way, did you know that garlic keeps aphids away from roses? It’s true! Did you also know that I routinely have horrific flashbacks to the time I grabbed the branch of a rosebush with my bare hand only to discover that it was coated with aphids? Turns out they are disturbingly soft. HUBBABLUBAHBLEEFNUH (that’s the sound I make when I shudder.)
Snap peas: Yup. Peas! Why not? I just threw these in my cart and forgot that they grow to be about six feet tall. CURSES! It’s exactly that kind of attention to detail that has fucked me up my whole life. If I say, “I’m sure it’s fine,” that is my husband’s command to stop me from doing whatever I am doing and start researching side effects.
Whatever. Problem solved: the kids and I are going to buy a trellis this week. Nothing fancy. Just something to hold up a few dead pea plants in a couple of months. Something that complements the color brown and the smell of rot.
Wish me luck! These plants will need it.