Making A Simple Shrub
The Wild Dance of The Nematodes

Slow Food Season


It struck me today, while slowly cruising the backyard, that my vegetable garden had done switched its bad self over to automatic pilot while I wasn't looking. I don't know when that might have been because I feel like I am always looking at something or other in those gloriously blue periwinkle beds. I'm sure it's nothing more than reaching a seasonal plateau. Things just need to progress on their own for awhile.

I did find a comically large fuzzy caterpillar clinging to one of the stout leaves of what was (just a few days ago) my best collard green. I could have given that thing a poodle cut is was so fuzzy but I didn't. Instead I found a twig and flicked it off into the nether regions of the yard hoping that a bird will chance upon it. The hens refuse to eat the fuzzinnis anymore. They look at me in disbelief, like they've gone to the fanciest restaurant in town only to find a Big Mac sitting on their dinner plate. I take my humble offering away and hear them grumbling amongst themselves.

The sweet potatoes may need another beneficial nematode spray. I bought my first nematodes last weekend. Now you can't see the nematodes mind you but they come with a lot of instructions and are very sensitive and they need a certain amount of care and they are very expensive. Part of me felt like I was buying Sea Monkeys. They could have sold me anything. That's why I am going to take a pinch of what is in their little refrigerated jar to work with me today so I can check it out under a microscope. What if nothing shows up, I asked the vet? Do I return it and say, "My veterinarian checked this shit out under her magnolamp and it's as sterile as Auntie Patsy's sister-in-law?" I don't think I have it in me. Michael might do it. He'll return anything for the slightest imperfection. Hell, he calls the phone company to get ten cents credit if he ever receives a text message. That's my boy.

The watermelons need to be thinned so there's a little Sophies Choice playing out in that bed. I hardly have the heart to thin the little trio and am thinking that I might just take the orphan melon to the neighbors to see if they can plant him. I'll take all the extra potato slips too.

There are baby tomatoes growing on the Purple Cherokee. Can't rush that.

The beans are beautiful and strong. The beets are like toddlers taking their first steps. Some slump over but mostly they are standing upright.

My little garden is growing up. All that's left for me to do is stand back and watch it grow. This may be the first weekend that I can just sit and read in the shade. I've never had everything done so early in the year before. I'll have to remember how satisfying this feeling is for next year. It's wonderful.




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I also have a problem with thinning plants...that's the main reason I start a bunch of them in pots - so that I can separate them and plant all of them in the garden instead of having to specifically kill some. The only plant that I don't feel bad about is the beet - but that's because each seed will send up like 5 sprouts, and that's just ludicrous.


I was very judicious with my beet seeds this year and they came up in sparse little rows. Carrots are my thinning nightmare, the seeds are tiny so clumps of seedlings come up and they are cute! Plus, they are so innocent and unsuspecting - I don't even have to sneak up on them. I just stroke their little green heads for a minute and then YANK!


I always feel compelled to apologize to the plants that don't make the cut. "Sorry, sorry," [toss, toss] "you did great, it's not your fault. [toss, toss] Maybe I shouldn't be gardening.


I love them and curse them. Thank goodness they're not children, they'd bite their nails down to the quick and sit quivering in a corner. My timidity to thin paid off with the watermelons - it seems that one was gnawed at the base of it's formidable stem by a cutworm.

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