Every spring I get a giant garden boner and start obsessing about plants.
Yeah, that’s what I’m going to write about, gardening. No one is coming here for Kim Karsashian wedding news so there shouldn’t be any complaints about my garden boner.
I blame my love of gardening — or more truthfully — thank, my mom. Her love of gardening rubbed off on me. In my youth, my family and I lived in a modest home in a middle-class suburb of Phoenix and despite the lack of “farmable land” Mom always made a go of gardening. She even enlisted me in my teen years to dig up and till parts of the backyard in a desperate attempt to scratch out a few fresh vegetables from a meager 15-by-15 foot plot of land under an unrelenting Arizona sun.
While I toiled away, I pretended I was busting sod like some 1823 explorer in northern California, and she enjoyed cheap labor. It was a win-win.
It mostly worked. Despite my father’s insistence that whatever was planted was just another obstacle to mow around, a decent bit of veggies could be harvested and I always found that cool.
I didn’t want to eat any of them, mind you. God no, they might interfere with my diet of Big Mac and weed.
My mother’s love of plants never left me and for that I’m thankful and always look forward to springtime. That bug has long since also bitten Dagmar and it’s become a mutual labor of love.
Because we move around a lot, Dagmar and I plant our gardens in containers. Over the years we’ve amassed a fine collection of pots and every spring we dutifully drag them out to the backyard and carefully discuss the planting options for each container.
Then we go to the gardening store, collectively lose our minds, buy a shit-ton of plants we hadn’t planned on along with some potting soil and come home.
Once home, I unload the plants from the car while she lines the backyard with plastic bags explaining to me that this is how Martha Steward gardens. I then call Martha Steward a fucking retard because who cares if potting soil gets on the lawn. Dagmar then storms inside the house mad at me for debasing the benevolent Martha Stewart and I’m left to pot my plants in peace for three minutes.
Once I admit that Martha Stewart isn’t an idiot and Dagmar admits that potting soil isn’t bad for a lawn, we get down to the serious business of arguing about root balls. Specifically, how much you should fuck with a root ball.
I think that our new family member should be introduced to their new home by gently loosening the root ball of the plant. Dagmar prefers some sort of “fuck your roots, you’ll grow new ones” approach.
So while I gingerly shake the soil from the new plant’s roots, Dagmar prefers the “kill the old soil and roots with fire” approach.
We’ve had mixed success stories obviously.
One of our recent plants never looked good, not even the morning after we planted it. (She planted it, of course.) Throughout the week it looked worse and worse. When I finally checked on it I discovered she’d separated the plant from the roots. Physically broken them apart and hadn’t realized it.
Point mine, honey. Point mine.
Back to the story.
I bought one of those gimmicky tomato plants sold in gardening stores that already has a bunch of cherry tomatoes on the vine. Some are ripe, most of the tomatoes are still green, and fuck, why wouldn’t you buy one of those?
They’ve got tomatoes you can eat right now!
They’re perfect because they’re so easy. But yeah, nothing good is really ever easy is it?
When you garden you can expect failure. Some plants don’t get enough sun, some plants get too much water, some plants have their roots molested to death by Dagmar and some plants can’t handle being peed on a few times by some drunken ass from the house.
You know, failure.
The gimmicky tomato plant was a failure. Inside of a week, the leaves looked like hell and the branches drooped. Although the tomatoes themselves looked awesome, the plant was in that, “well that’s going to die” phase anyone who’s been around a blade of grass longer than a week can recognize.
Dagmar and I debated the plant’s root treatment. She accused me of just pulling it out of the plastic pot it came in and sticking it directly into the ground. I accused her of violently attacking the roots like a vicious tomato plant hater.
We unceremoniously ripped it up from the stem because neither of us knew why it was dead. It was an impulse purchase, it was a gimmicky impulse purchase and yeah, it was almost dead.
Dagmar cried, I said a solemn prayer and … who am I kidding, I just took the mostly dirt-free root ball plant to the back of the yard behind the shed where I dump all the failures, ash from our BBQ and urinate when I’m drinking outside.
The dead plants are all piled up behind the shed. I like to call it composting and not dumping, but really, it’s just a pile of dead plants. I occasionally poke the pile with a stick, sometimes I pee on it and rarely do I give it a second thought.
The gimmicky tomato plant went to join the natural order of things in that ungodly pee-infested “compost” pile.
End of blog post right? I made some fun jokes about how my wife and I differ in our methods of gardening; you now know I pee in my backyard; I worked in a Fuck-Martha-Stewart reference; and shit let’s crack open a beer and high-five, blog is done. Fuck those tomatoes!
But it isn’t — because that shit happened like a month and a half ago and look at it now.
OK, OK, I’ve since hung the “dead” tomato plant on a tree branch, but shit, after like three weeks back there (I pee back there more often than I’ve let on), I started to wonder why the tomatoes weren’t rotting.
I’ve tossed tomato branches from normal tomato plants (started from seeds or bought as starter plants) into similar piles and the fucking tomatoe’s rot right along with the rest of the plant.
This is some weird Chernobyl shit right here. Why (and this photo was taken last week*) do those red tomatoes still look delicious? The leaves and vines are withered and dead. Why do the green tomatoes not rot and fall off or more importantly look exactly the same as the day I tossed them back there?
What the hell is going on in my garden … what kind of madness is this?
* Okay since writing this, the tomatoes have started to rot. They’re getting kind of gross now in fact. I’m not at all sure what the point of this whole thing was, I thought the tomatoes weren’t rotting, but it turns out they are? Fuck, no idea. Let’s just all forget this and move on okay?