October 06, 2020
Every spring I usually plant a lot of perennials, a few tomato plants and pepper plants. I started planting native perennials such as black- eyed susan’s and golden alexanders the last few years to bring back native wildlife. This year however, the pandemic caused a lot of panic at the grocery stores, and a lot of job losses. Luckily my city has a seed bank, and I was able to acquire some free bean seeds that unfortunately did not grow into a tall stalk in which I would meet a giant and take his golden goose. I did however have some success in growing a few lima beans and what I suspect are navy beans in which I can make a very watered down bean soup.
My tomatoes caught a virus or mold and many of the plants died. The few that did survive grew a couple of tomatoes that I ate over the summer. I took some store bought red potatoes and yellow potatoes and cut out the eyes, let them scab over and I planted them. I mounded dirt over the base all summer, and watered them. My boyfriend told me that there is a German saying that “the stupidest farmer grows the largest potatoes”. As summer wore on, I remembered the saying as “only an idiot can’t grow a potato.” We harvested last week, and out of 8 plants that survived, we got 5 small potatoes, and a scatter of very tiny potatoes fit for a field mouse. The hubbard squash we planted had flowered and spread all summer but did not yield a single squash. The 6 pepper plants grew 3 tiny peppers. My colleague from my days at Lufthansa used to tell me only a mean person can grow peppers. I would get very mad at the pepper plants in hopes they would grow, one even collapsed at my harsh words, while the other pepper plants offered no support.
Our 8 year old lemon tree, “Fidel” as I affectionately call him, decided he would not produce lemons this year. I did get him an Aloe “Vera” plant to keep him company this winter. The herbs did great, but I think I need to read up on urban farming this winter.
My late Grandma Ashdown who passed away this summer grew up in the 1930’s during the Great Depression, and when she was a little girl in Detroit she said “You could get vegetable seeds everywhere for a penny, even your teachers had seeds that they gave the students to take home to their mothers. If you went hungry, it was your own fault if you couldn’t grow food in your own garden.”
I wonder what grandma would say now? I know what her stance is on cookies, but that’s a whole different story on life and death.
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