Thursday, November 08, 2007

G is for Garden...

This will not be a touchy feely post. I am not one of those souls who wanders 'round her garden being nurtured by the nurturing nature of things green and growing. For one, there are also things brown and gray and wiggly being nurtured. I once wrote an article about harvesting snails from one's garden. It was a how-to, written in the days when I took any writing gig that paid (okay, so those days have not ended). I researched the thing and as with my articles about things sexual, my readers benefited only from my research and not from my experience. So when I tell you that harvesting snails is no big deal as long as you put them in corn meal to eat and shit for some amount of time (which you can probably find out by googling, or I could dig up the article) before you actually eat the suckers. And I use that last word advisedly.

But back to my garden....self-analysis is a 24/7 thing with me, so over the years, I've learned this about myself via my garden.

1. I am a process person. I love the planning, the digging, the planting, the weeding. To actually harvest whatever, eh, not really. I no longer grow green beans because they get so big so fast that I could never keep up with them. One year I actually made green bean pesto, which was no small feat. And people ate it. Which just proves that garlic, basil, and a good olive oil will make a decent dish of any old thing.

2. I don't believe in watering. If those fuckers, whatever they are, can't grow on their own, they don't deserve to, is my motto. Consequently I have more and better and bigger tomatoes than anyone around. Because tomatoes don't like a lot of water. Which means they deserve to grow in my garden. Other vegetables, not so much, I confess. Like cucumbers. But chard--I once grew a magic potion of rainbow chard. Of course, at the time I didn't know what to do with it, so it just kinda bolted out in the ground, a blessing of red and yellow and green, until it became brown and moldy.

3. I am an organic gardener. Mainly because those chemicals scare me and I'm always sure I'll shoot them in my face--or in Molly's. So if there are pests in my garden, I take care of them naturally. I spray whiteflies with soapy water. I get whoever I can to pluck the tomato worms off the vines. I tried drowning snails in beer, but frankly, my heart broke for the poor unwitting snail, inching his way into that good smelling stuff, working so hard, covering so little ground in so long a time and then--splat, he falls into beer and can't swim and drowns and leaves all his poor snail children alone in the dark. The same with snails and salt. I couldn't bear to watch them writhe. Why not just crucify them? You'd only need one nail.

4. I love weeding. I may save this for W is for... because really, what I would reveal deserves its own post.

5. I rarely if ever sit in my garden. My excuse is that it's too hot, too cold, too wah wah wah, but really, I think it's a character issue. What I like about my garden is the making of it. It's the process, I tell you, not the product. My garden here in Elk Grove is beautiful. As well it should be since I paid Hugo some $10K (okay, that may be a bit high) to put it in. It's got a stone waterfall and a gazebo. Actually, the electronics on the waterfall have frozen, so this summer particularly it has threatened to be a little den of mosquito inequity. And the gazebo--well, it's not fastened down and on windy days, it walks. But the rest of the garden is gorgeous: rose bushes and Meyer lemons, peaches and sweet peas, and them there tomatoes that I mentioned above. And, oh, the grape vines. These were D's special request. I think he plucked one grape, and I got stuck with the rest. Typical. I cut them off the vine and thought I'd make wine, or jelly, but, eh! they ended up rotting. So now I've got huge vines and what the fuck am I supposed to do with them. I look at them and think--grape vine wreathes, esty--I should cut and twirl or twist them and then sell them. I should. I should. I should.

But I won't. Maybe I'll get Bob, who is the Fijian replacement for the Mexican Hugo, to cut them down. Maybe I will.

But probably I won't.


  1. Turns out? I like the idea of a garden much more than the actual experience of the garden. I like the initial planning and planting, and then I forget to water, or weed, or harvest, and pretty soon I've got a mess. And then it's too hot outside to ffutz around in the garden, so I leave it until fall, when everything withers and dies, and then I pull it all out and dump it at the back of the yard.

    Yes. This is me, gardening.

  2. velma: you summed up in one paragraph what it took me a whole post to say!

  3. We have a community garden around the corner, but no one here (NYC) has land of his or her own, so we miss out on all that fun planning and plotting. And I think most people are in it for that part - rather than the eating of the green beans or the tomatoes. Also, I agree with you about the snails. I couldn't do it either.


So--whaddaya think?