Thursday, June 22, 2006

Memoirs of a Very Bad Gardener


Our Daily Walk: Part of Yuko’s Conditioning for Her “Pon!” Birth Plan

My Libertarian Tomatoes Pose with the Support Poles Provided by My Authoritarian Neighbour: Who Will Win?

Honestly, I planned all along to get around to the taming of my tomato plants, but the weather was bad, I was tired from watching too many disappointing football (soccer) matches, and I couldn’t seem to find any good quality sticks to support them with. Besides, letting my tomatoes run wild was part of my secret plan to increase their surface area and nurture their self-confidence. I knew in the back of my mind that I should be worrying about what my neighbours think of my negligence, but one of them stepped in before I could mend my ways. I was out at the time, but she gave into my wife’s hands four very tall and very solid support rods and told her that the tomatoes needed to be pruned as well as supported.

This was the kick in the behind I needed in order to get my act together, but perhaps my heart was not yet ready to ascend to this higher level of gardening.

1) I cheerfully set about the task of trimming my tomato plants. What could possibly go wrong?
2) My confidence begins to wane as I realize that I am destroying #4, the weakest of my tomato plants.
3) What was left of #4 after I tried to straighten him up against the support pole (and broke his back).
4) What? What are you looking at?! This is part of my secret plan to open up space to plant garden peas.


1) With all the mist and rain and cold this past month, my earth mounds were beginning to look like the mossy rocks flanking a waterfall. My daily visits to the garden were becoming my Walk of Shame, so I took a Saturday afternoon to do some hoeing.
2) Before and After: my corn plants are still midgets, but at least they stand out more now that they are alone on their earth mounds.
3) The three tools I used in my battle to reclaim my earth mounds, all borrowed from the junior high school: a Japanese three pronged hoe, a spade, and a regular Japanese hoe. To be honest, I prefer to do all my garden work with a garden rake but the junior high school doesn’t have a single one.
4) My Lettuce Sprouts: The idea is to sprinkle the lettuce seeds over the earth and cover them with a wet newspaper and then remove the wet newspaper once they have sprouted. Apparently lettuce sprouts much quicker than corn because when I removed the newspaper two days later, it was already too late. My lettuce seeds had turned into tall albinos with mouldy feet.

Originally the idea was to plant the corn, wait two weeks until it was about four inches high, and then plant the beans and the squash. As it is, one month later, it seems highly unlikely that the corn will ever reach four inches so I have planted the beans and the squash in cardboard boxes covered with saran wrap. If they grow at all, I will plant them on the earth mounds whether the corn is ready for them or not—and if the corn plants think I am going to protect them from being strangled to death by the beans, they had better think again.