1 July 2007

Lessons in Gardening

posted by rlink @ 12:41 to section Gardening

Even though I’d helped my grandfather with his garden when I was a child, I still learn new things about gardening every year. Here is just a small list of lessons taught to me by the small city garden plot I’ve maintained for the last several years.

First year: “Oooh! Lemon balm! I can plant that and make lemon balm tea!”

  • Do not ever plant lemon balm. It will take over your entire garden, and you will get sick of lemon balm tea after three days. You will then rip the plant gigantic shrub out of the garden, leaving a huge hole in the ground, and will now have lots of wasted space because it’s too late in the season to plant anything that is actually useful.
  • Whoever planted this ivy is a jerk.

Second year: “Oooh! Mint! Mint has plenty of uses! Not like that stupid old lemon balm!”

  • Mint is even worse than lemon balm in the encroachment department. The stupid thing even wormed some shoots around the edges of my house’s old coal door and started growing in the basement. Given that lemon balm is a member of the mint family, I should have expected this. The previous year’s lesson has now been generalized to: “Do not plant any member of the mint family. It is a weed. It might be a tasty weed, but it is a weed. Just buy your mint at the farmers’ market.”
  • Whoever planted this ivy is a jerk. Maybe if I ignore the section in the corner, it will strangle the mint for me.

Third year: “Tomatillos! I can make salsa verde!”

  • Tomatillos require much more horizontal area than vertical, quite unlike tomatoes.
  • Whoever planted this ivy is a jerk. At least the tomatillos are giving it a run for its money.

Fourth year: “Where are all my vegetables going?”

  • My neighbors are thieves.
  • Whoever planted this ivy is a jerk.
  • My neighbors like the ivy. Why can’t they steal the ivy?
  • My neighbors are jerks.

This year (Really, the end of last season): “Oh, look! The fennel is flowering. Bah, I’ll get to it later.”

  • Do not ever let herbs go to seed unless you want an entire plot of fennel and weeds next Spring. Herbs are weeds. They may be tasty weeds, but they are weeds. The first year’s lesson has been further revised to: “Don’t plant big herbs. Little ones in the windowboxes are fine, because they have nowhere to spread. Buy all large herbs at the farmers’ market. (Except basil.)”
  • Trying to rip out a bunch of fennel that is tangled with the ivy just makes for a bunch of fennel roots broken off at just-above soil-level.
  • Whoever planted this ivy is still a jerk.

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