Friday, May 04, 2007

plans, planting, seeds, and sedatives

Plans often fall apart. Whether this is due to the vagaries of cloud formations and wind, the often unpredictable temperament of a three-year-old, or poor choices in behavior or purchasing, doesn’t matter a damn. We still have to figure out how to sort through the pieces of a plan, pick up the important parts, and move on. Sometimes you get
breathing space for this tricky operation. Sometimes you have to do it instantaneously. Either way, the Buddhist virtue of non-attachment can be extraordinarily useful, when practiced effectively.

Example: Planting.

According to the two almanacs I’ve cross-referenced, the last three days were supposed to have been ideal for planting, while the next two are categorized unequivocally as completely lousy. Like, “Any seed planted now will rot” or “Do no planting.” Although I’m willing to plant on less favorable days, it seems idiotic to ignore such advice, especially when it comes from two separate sources.

Thanks to my husband’s intense digging, hoeing, and tilling, the front garden bed has been cleared. But we haven’t prepared it with appropriately amended soil. Not ready for planting. OK, no problem. I had been thinking about moving the big pot from the back porch to a sunny spot in the front yard anyway. I could go and pick up some essential plants from a local nursery (more on Jake later) and set up a perfectly acceptable container garden instead. I can’t seem to find the specific kinds of Echinacea (coneflower) and chamomile plants I want to use in the front bed anyway. The Asheville Herb Festival is this weekend and I will be shocked if I can’t find them there. I just won’t be able to plant them for a couple of days.

Oh, blast. Never mind the details. I got the wrong kind of soil for the container last night, Duckie’s behavior was atrocious, it was raining and cold and it just stopped being fun. All I managed to do was repot the sweet and cinnamon basil plants from the big pot to smaller individual pots, whack away at the oregano (one big bastard of a root system, let me tell you – I almost had to get out the axe) and set a slip of oregano and some spearmint in a pot together.

Given how aggressive these two plants tend to be, we’re running kind of a celebrity death match on this particular pot. Brian’s money is on the spearmint. But even though the oregano I planted was maybe a tenth of the entire plant, I’m betting on it. It’s well-established, tough, and territorial. Choked out everything else in the pot last year. Bastard.

Gambling with gardens. Fun stuff. Anyone want to throw in a bet? Next week we’re running lemon balm vs. chocolate mint. My odds are with the lemon balm. My friend Ebby in Florida, who worked in a nursery for a while, says either way they might break the pot. Which would, in itself, be pretty funny.

What I learned yesterday (skip this if you’re bored senseless):

Lavender likes alkaline soil. Jake was nice enough to re-open the nursery and get me out a handful of it just for the one plant. Apparently it’s not sold in small quantities.

Those peat pots that are so popular now? The directions say to pull off the bottoms and plant right into the ground. Bullshit. When I pulled up the basil plants that had come in peat pots, they were completely root-bound. It’s no wonder they weren’t growing. I pulled off the sides, fluffed them out a bit, and put them in separate clay pots, allowing them some extra room to grow. They looked happier immediately, so I look forward to seeing what happens.

Soak clay pots before you use them. Otherwise they have a tendency to suck water away from a newly planted root system. You can get a 6-inch pot and saucer for under $2 just about anywhere, and they do just fine.

You know when you plant seeds and they say they’ll sprout in like seven to ten days? I always thought they were full of shit. I just couldn’t imagine those teeny tiny seeds becoming anything other that little flea-like bits of organic matter. But I tried them anyway. Genovese basil and daisies last week. What the hell, seeds and dirt are cheap. I used plastic cups we already had in the house.

They sprouted in five days. I couldn’t believe my freaking eyes.

“Duckie, come look!” I hollered. jumping up and down. “Our plants have sprouted!” It was a very exciting development.


Yesterday morning on the way out to the main road Duckie said, “The car sounds like a storm.”

She says random things like that on a fairly regular basis. I can usually connect the images pretty quickly – it’s like a free-association game, but of course she’s much better at it. I have too much junk in my head, for the most part, to really let those thoughts fly freely and give them the space they need.

Sounds like a storm… And since we live on a gravel road, the sound of the tires on the rocks as we drove out to the main road did indeed sound exactly like thunder in the distance.

Her teachers keep telling me she’s got a fantastic imagination. I take it for granted, because I’m not around kids who have other gifts, so I have no basis for comparison. But after yesterday I think they really might be right.


Lately I’ve had a serious case of the creepy-crawlies. Maybe you’ve experienced it once or twice – after dusting, maybe, or cleaning out cobwebs, or fighting mosquitoes. I feel like there’s always something little hanging out on my ear, or on the back on my neck, or down my shirt, or… well, you get the picture. It can be maddening. It began a couple of weeks ago when tick season started.

I filled the Seroquel prescription, but I haven’t even taken the bottle out of the bag. Crunch time for hormones is coming up, though. Hope I won’t need them.

(SB, I’m not on birth control, btw. Last time I tried, it made me nuts. No, don’t laugh, I’m serious. I’m concerned with weight gain and mood changes. And I’m already on two medications. A large part of me rebels at the thought of adding another one.)

I’ve had to be careful with what I eat these days. I’ve added some walks around the plant during the days to try to make up for the calories I’m not spending doing yoga and running. But somehow over the last six months I’ve managed to drop an entire bra size. Go figure. I’m guessing that the muscle mass is probably deteriorating some, too. Which is a crappy way to lose weight, but yoga still isn’t an option.

Once we get the garden planted, I can go back to afternoon runs. At the moment we’re all in the heat of battle with outdoor improvements. Which is also a nice way to burn calories, I suppose.

What I don’t understand yet is how we’re expected to keep up the inside of the house while trying to improve the outside. Laundry? 50% clean, but unfolded. Dinner? Fast and furious. Vacuuming? Seldom. Dusting? Er… *cough* well, anyway. *sneeze*

I suppose there’s nothing earth-shattering to say today. But I’ve been busting ass at work for four solid days now (yeah, I know, imagine that) and my brain is just tired. This is, quite frankly, a nice break.

And I hope this weekend brings (or brought, depending on when you read this) a nice break for you, too.

“Try not to do what you did
and try not to do what you wish you could do
and try to do what you need
according to how you feel.” ~Bryan Kest

Damn but I miss yoga.


SB Gypsy said...

Oh, dang, no simple solutions. So much of life is just getting up and soldiering onward, if one thing doesn't work, ya hafta try another.

I'm starting a garden this year too, and trying to decide weather it should be just 4 yards of topsoil, or some mix of soil, manure, and organic mulch for a new raised bed. My problem is there's little space with sun on this shaded lot.

Oh, and I'm starting some worms to turn my garbage into fertilizer too.

oldwhitelady said...

It sounds like you're busy all the time! I'm glad you mentioned running. I keep planning on jogging, but never get out there to do it. I did finally get some exercise dvds and follow them to an extent. I hope your garden grows nicely. We've had a lot of rain, but the only things I managed to get in the garden, so far, are radishes:)