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Sunday, July 4, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

We're trying our hands at gardening, we Aprons are.

I'll be the first to admit, we have no idea what we're doing.

Not only that, we have no business doing what we're doing.

We're murderers of all things chlorophyll'd. Why ought we be allowed to garden? It's rather like licensing a convicted pedophile to open up a nursery school or a Rita's Water Ice franchise.

Still, we're giving it our best shot. Our side-yard (we have no backyard, and our front yard is all pachysandra (except for the little strip of grass on the curb, which some anonymous do-gooder mowed for us while we were at work yesterday-- creepy, embarrassing, shameful, weird) is exceptionally small, but we have turned it into a micro-garden of sorts.


Broccoli (for me, the veggie fetishist)


and Pumpkins

Yes-- probably pumpkins aren't exactly the wisest things to grow in a garden no bigger in diameter than the average child's coffin, but then, no one ever said we were wise. Or gardeners.

We're just two stupid kids in love who are trying to share our love with as many things as possible. I mean, we have two dogs. We're trying to make a baby (which hole is it again?) and we're fumbling our way through attempts to make friends with people, even though I don't particularly like people, and now we're trying to lavish a little love on some growy-type things.

The broccoli is doing especially well. I'd describe what it looks like for you, but every single adjective I was thinking of using sounds pornographic. Except "green."

So, um, it's green. We good?

My maternal grandfather, Harry, had a garden. Actually, I think I'll refer to him as "Zayda" because that's what we called him. Not "my Zayda" but "Zayda." In fact, I thought "Zayda" was his name until I was about ten. Anyway, Zayda was the only person I ever knew growing up who grew things. Zayda's garden was serious, because Zayda was serious. He never joked about anything that I can recall. All the conversations I ever had with him were serious, including the last conversation I ever had with him-- about men's fashion and my belief that the three-piece suit would come back. He agreed. Three weeks later, he was dead. That was 1992, and he didn't live to see my Bar Mitzvah or the hipster fancy-dress revolution in which, in my opinion, skinny ties and three-piece-suits feature prominently. And I think that's unfortunate.

In the fortunate department, he also didn't live to see my sister marry a Christian mailman.

Zayda grew tomatoes and cucumbers. I loved wandering through his garden as a little boy and smelling the vegetation, just inhaling God, I guess. It was as close as I ever got to religion-- the Bar Mitzvah doesn't count, as I suspect it doesn't for most Jewish men. It's hard to justify and appreciate an inflated, expensive ceremony proclaiming you a man before you've got your first pube.

I loved going to Zayda's garden. He didn't show me anything about it, or teach me anything about it, and we never re-enacted the scene from "The Godfather" where Marlon Brando chases the fucking kid around the garden with an orange-peel slice in his mouth and has a heart attack. Zayda had his final heart attack while putting on his tie to get ready for work one morning.

It's funny-- I really wanted this to be about our garden and gardening, but all of a sudden it's about Zayda and heart attacks and pubes. Life is so funny, don't you think? I say that a lot, but I really believe it's true. And it's funny in every way something can be funny-- in the humorous and the depressive and the strange and the quixotic. It's unpredictable, sure, and you never know what's going to work and what's going to fail, and what's going to survive the harshest of times. In that respect, I guess life is like a garden. Or a blog post.


  1. Aw, that was so sweet. My gardening reminds me of my grandma, so I feel you on it. Also on the miniature nature of our respective plots. I'm currently gardening on two balconies, doing a complete container gardening bit.
    I'm going to highly recommend pineapples. They only cost whatever you pay for a pot - if you eat pineapples ever, that is. You can just pull the top off the pineapple, make sure there's no flesh left, let it dry for a day or two, then stick that sucker in some dirt. They're surprisingly pretty plants, thrive on neglect, and produce fruit in about a year. They also do well indoors, which I'm guessing is more important for you than it is for me in Okinawa.
    Also, if you guys want lettuces, I saw the coolest thing ever, which I will do if I ever leave this island and live in a house again (as opposed to an apartment, I'm not under a bridge). These people took plastics gutters, purchased for like $5, attached them to the side of the house, around waist level, filled them with dirt, and planted lettuces. No ground pests, no bending over to cut for your salads, and no loss of space that could be used for other crops.
    And I will raise you on your pumpkins... I have two little watermelon plants growing in my containers. Talk about goofy wastes of space...
    Good luck! Oh, and if you like them, carrots are pretty easy to grow, don't have a truly set growing season, and are AMAZING compared to what you get at the store.

  2. Birdie!

    What wonderful advice! Who knew there was so much vegetation in the world for my wife and I to kill, maim, and otherwise stunt the life out of?

    I didn't realize you lived in Okinawa-- that's where my father-in-law (a physician) was stationed during Vietnam. He has many fond memories of... um... buying cheap things there (Volkswagen Beetles, motorcycles, chess sets, etc) and having them shipped home.

  3. The summer when my sister was 14 and I was 12, my mom decided we needed a project to keep us out of trouble. So she tilled up half of our back yard (which was about 1/2 a city block deep) and planted the biggest effin' garden I've ever seen. And we were in charge of weeding, watering and nurturing it along. As a result, I now want to vomit every time I catch the scent of a tomato vine.

    But good luck! I put pepper plants in pots on my patio. (And I just laughed out loud repeating that sentence in a Sylvester the cat lisp about 6 times). Don't over water - but don't under water. It's a delicate balance, Mr. Apron.


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