I have a love-hate relationship with the green growing outdoors. It’s an ongoing battle even trying to keep the lawn mowed. (I’m not winning.) Why I would struggle to do anything beyond the bare necessities (like keeping the lawn clipped) is a total mystery to me. Why would I even want to think about having a garden?
Margaret, on the other hand, tackles all her projects with a vengeance. And wins. Not long ago I heard the garage door rumble open and out she came, armed with tools, implements, garden gloves, potted plants, bags of… stuff, and God knows what else. She went to work on the marauding plants and flowers that were trying to take over our front walkway. She dug out buried roots. She thrust and parried with unruly branches and snipped and clipped at gangly stems. She hefted potted plants and buried them here and there. I stood back and watched, getting exhausted and achy just watching all the frenzied activity. A few hours and our place has come up several notches in curbside appeal.
Don’t get me wrong. I love growing things and revel being in the midst of them. I just can’t manage them. Earlier this summer I tried my hand at a little bit of herb gardening. I have a few little pots on our back deck. Three to be exact. (Possibly the limits of my gardening capacity.) They contain basil, rosemary, and oregano — two kinds. They are doing wonderfully. I am constantly running out there clipping and pinching leaves to use for my cooking. There is nothing like the smell and taste of freshly picked herbs.
Then I read somewhere that when you chop up green onions you should take the little hairy bottom piece that left over and simply poke it into the dirt and watch it grow. I tried it and now have a wonderful little crop of green onions.
Then I tried tomatoes. Two pots, two different kinds. I have tried this… er… experiment in previous years and the results have been dismal. I don’t know what possessed me to try again.
Well, at least I’m consistent. I watered the tomatoes, made sure they got sun, talked to, even lectured them, propped them up when they were starting to sag, and still they remained sad feeble plants.
What is it about tomatoes that I can never make them grow? Other people seem to get truckloads from just a plant or two. Mine don’t even get close to ripening. I picked a few of them and buried them in a bowl of bananas, hoping those mysterious escaping-banana -gases would ripen them. Hasn’t happened yet. The ones I left on the vine still aren’t anywhere close to being ripe even though the end of the summer and early fall have been quite sunny. I really need a visit from the tomato fairy.
I suppose if I want fresh produce I will do what I have always done: go to the farm market. There I can gently squeeze tomatoes to find the ripest ones. Pick up a few fat lettuce, hunt for crispy cabbage, grab a firm zucchini or two, and come home with a healthy fresh colourful garden bonanza.
At home I think I’ll just stick to herbs.