Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Ah, how the mighty ambitions have fallen. A few months ago, I started many, many plants as seeds in our old house. I laid claim to windowspace in many rooms, pissing off the cat entirely, and things seemed to be going well. Most things sprouted, and were looking

Then, I had the stroke of genius that told me what a fabulous idea it would be to help the plants harden off (grow strength in their stems that they would lack from growing inside without having to harden up somewhat to withstand wind) by setting them outside on top of our back porch roof. We conveniently had a Door to Nowhere, which was a door in our bedroom that led out onto the roof, which presumably must have been a sleeping porch at one time but now was just a falling hazard. Unfortunately, my sparkling intellect stopped just short of reminding me that said roof was covered in asphalt shingles. Asphalt tends to get hot. Heat fries tender roots in the blink of an eye. Thusly, I lost half my plants. Poof.

Another large chunk of my babies were lost in the moving process. It was very rainy in the couple of weeks after we moved, and I didn't dare transplant them in the pouring rain because they would surely have been broken. Well, I might as well have tried, because I was so busy with the moving and shuttling of kids to various schools that they didn't really get enough attention. Oops.

Another small chuck was lost immediately after planting. I don't know if the soil was inhospitable, the plants too tender, or what, but the rest of the corn and all the pumpkins went kaput within a week of being planted. (Yes, I did water them.) I planted more seeds, directly into the ground, but they didn't break through.

This has left me with about eight tomato plants, twelve peppers, some yellow and some purple beans, and some cukes. None are growing as they should, however. The only plants to bear anything at all are the beans, and that has been only enough to use them as more of a garnish atop a large bowl of salad, say five or six copped in half and sprinkled on just so I could see them there. All the plants are still alive and green, they're just not growing very quickly.

I think the problem is that they're not getting enough sun. There's a largish tree next to the garden that gives it shade until early afternoon, and I'm guessing that they need more than that? The thing is, though, that I'm willing to bet good money that if I chop the thing down (which I'm planning on doing as soon as it's cool enough that I can't FRY AN EGG on the sidewalk) all the plants will immediately expire from over-sunning.

My only other thought is that since I used all heirloom seeds (ones who have never been genetically tampered with, and can be traced back through the generations as organic, etc), maybe they're a lot more finicky than the catalogues wanted to admit? I bought them after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which was an amazing, life-changing book for me, and she got a lot of her seeds from some of the companies I ordered from. However, maybe completely organic seeds are not what the fledgling gardener needs. Maybe I need supercharged, amazon seeds to bolster my sad, crop-starved ego for a few years before I try the do-it-yourself needy seeds.

I'm trying to tell myself that as long as I can keep everything green (everything that I have left, that is) for the remainder of the season, I will count this first mishap-laden year as a success, and when I turn it all under in the fall and prep the soil for next year, I will be happy to have at least improved the soil with all the peat moss, mulch, and organic materials I've poured into it. Since our state has more clay than an adobe house, it's not the easiest stuff to work with.

My flower garden, however, is doing fabulously. All the 'dead' plants that I got from Lowe's on their '$.10 Or Best Offer' rack have come back with my hovering and are thriving. I love them. Except my hateful hanging plants. The front porch gets full sun until early afternoon, and the side gets it all day, so they're pretty much crackling.

So, maybe this is my problem; I can only succeed with trailer-park crops, the ones no one wants, that are happy to see ANYONE with a watering can coming along to rescue them. Maybe my organic seeds were too bourgeois for me, and they are showing their petulent insultedness by growing backwards or something. 'Zat, zat WOMAN, shee ees do you say... COMMON for we purebred seeds. Wee will grow back into zee EARTH rather zan offer her our succulent fruits. Wee spit upon her and her pathetic rain barrels. Ptooey!'


Creative Kerfuffle said...

ROFL at the "comments" from your heirloom seeds. i too love the lowe's discount rack! we've rescued many a plant from there and w/ a little tlc they've done great.
i wouldn't blame the heirloom seeds too much--i tried growing hollyhocks, shasta daisies and something else from seeds we got a lowe's and they came up, i was excited and then they died before they were strong enough to put in the ground. i even took care of them and everything. eh.

Sally Moon said...

OH Very funny. I am so envious of those who can start seeds and carry it through. My friend has a garden that belongs on the cover of organic gardning- he just throws the seeds in the ground. GRR. I have better luck with pampered transplants. This year I increased my sun by moving all the foundations shrubs from the front of the house and planting there. I may have 64.00 tomatoes but a little sucess is better than none!

Susiewearsthepants said...

I can't even grow a weed. Respect to you for at least trying