Plant Killer!

| August 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

I am a terrible gardener; in fact, I used to brag that I was the “plant killer.” It made me feel better about my botanical failings, and it was a fantastic excuse. When my daughter was born, I was given a Christmas cactus—the only plant that survived me. Then, on a trip to California, my aunt tore off a piece of her jade plant and said, “These plants can live up to 400 years, and it’s good luck!” I killed the mother jade by leaving it outside in a frost, but the baby plants still live (despite my inattention).

So far, those are my only indoor plants; I refuse to murder another living organism.

As of late, I have learned how detached we are from the food chain, and I decided that I would grow my own food. Maybe I could even sell the bumper crop! Right.

These last few summers it became terribly clear to me how much land is necessary to feed even one person. My garden consists of a patch of turnips, which have beautiful lacy wings due to the mysterious bugs that come out at night to munch. I also have sugar snap peas, bush beans, some pitiful beets, struggling carrots, and a row of leaning tomatoes.

The potatoes have multiplied somehow, and are doing rather well at growing into places they shouldn’t. The purposely planted squash is dwarfish, while the volunteer winter squash is blocking my path with its gargantuan leaves. I just don’t get it.

So, I ask myself, “Should I quit? Am I really the plant killer I suppose myself to be?”

As odd as it sounds, I actually like my quirky, imperfect garden. The nasturtiums bob on the fence crying “Eat me! Eat me!” (they don’t taste all that great—but they’re pretty), I snack on snap peas, and sit on my homemade bench in the evenings. Maybe next year my compost, and the free horse manure I get from the rancher outside town, will transform my scraggly plot into a miniature version of Eden. Maybe I will sell the millions of extra zucchini and tomatoes. For now, I’ll enjoy the way my garden is—the way I am.

Yeah, I’m a ragged patch of tangled emotions, struggling goals, bug-eaten dreams, and pitiful eating habits. I worry about my leaning morals, obsess on things I have no control over, and trip over those pesky potato-prayers that show absolutely no promise right now…but they’re steadily growing beneath my feet and out of sight. My store-bought, creature comfort seeds are small and withered; while God’s healthy winter squash will keep my stomach full this winter.

I’m a beautiful mess, a flawed human garden with plenty of room for improvement, and I accept myself this way. I can’t flippantly declare that I’m the plant killer anymore.

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Category: Food, General

About the Author ()

Linda Lacy is a freelance writer from Salem, Oregon. She teaches GED to adults, is a permaculture enthusiast, simplicity activist, and aspires to encourage others through words and action.

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