Some plants survive despite a brown thumb
MY reputation for being a gardener with a notoriously brown thumb may be in jeopardy, as some recently planted plants show evidence of what seems to be life.
Or could it be that I have finally concentrated my garden selections on species of plants that apparently are harder to kill than Rasputin?
I am known as something of an assassin of plant life. Unfairly, I think. I'm not like the vegetarian who says he's a vegetarian not because he loves animals, but because he hates plants. I love plants.
But plants in my yard or on my deck must have a fierce will to live. The stress of trying to survive under my gardening regime can be too much pressure for some. I had a basil plant that was growing like a champ and then one morning I discovered him crashed onto the ground from the deck railing, shards of his little clay pot strewn like aircraft wreckage. It was clearly suicide and I was hurt. But when my wife asked what happened, I tried to put on a brave face and said the bygone basil had simply made a pesto of himself.
But recent successes have given me hope that our little green friends no longer consider me the Osama bin Laden of the plant world. I planted some cherry tomato seeds and the plants sprung up. I isolated the hardiest specimens in two separate pots, figuring a little competition might spur their development.
To further spur their growth, I fed them liquid Miracle-Gro plant food. The directions said something about adding a few drops per gallon of water, but that sounded kind of namby-pamby. So I fed them a few ounces of full-strength Miracle-Gro with amazing results.
One plant, apparently unable to process the sudden infusion of all that life-giving goodness, fell over and died. But the other shot up like Jack's bean stalk and within a few days I had to decide if I was going to prune the plant or climb it.
Now, it's making cherry tomatoes the size of my fist. If I don't whack it back with a machete several times a day, it would take over the planet.
But the real success story is my chives. Chives are the perfect plant for brown-thumb gardeners. Once growing, chives cannot be killed, even with Agent Orange. I believe they could grow on the surface of Mars. The chives are growing so well, they have easily outpaced my family's culinary need. We used to just snip them to sprinkle on salads and baked potatoes. But with such a bumper crop, I now put them on everything from breakfast cereal to Boomer's dog chow.
The two papaya trees I planted also seem curiously healthy. After only a few weeks they are almost as tall as the cherry tomato plant. But I've had experience with papaya trees before and know their tricks. They are jolly one day and sullen the next. Some will even refuse to make any actual papayas. But I'm doing my best to motivate these papaya trees to do well. Sharpening the machete blade within their view seems to help them focus.
Buy Charles Memminger's hilarious new book, "Hey, Waiter, There's An Umbrella In My Drink!" at island book stores or online
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