I have an early memory of being with my grandparents as they were picking up their potato crop. I must have been about three or four as my grandma held out wriggling snails in her brown, dirt-caked hand that she found as she went along. I remember how the dirt smelled as they turned it over in searching, how the potatoes clunked one-by-one into the buckets, and how it felt to sit on the collected mound.
The translation of my Mom’s last name is people of the cliffs. My grandfather’s mother’s name is people of the fields. An earthy tincture should run in my blood. I should have meandered into this world with both thumbs being bright green. As I’ve looked over the immaculate rows of carefully tended vegetables in my grandparent’s garden, with strawberries that do not taste like water and cucumbers that compliment butter, I feel that I should be able to cull plant growth much like Batman’s Poison Ivy. Hell, Uma should have NOTHING on me.
It seems, however, that I’ve taken the Kill Bill role and have killed many, many plants in my time. I kill flowers, spider plants, herbs. I’m pretty indiscriminate in my murdering. I kill cacti and that’s nearly damn impossible. The last was a perfectly stable cactus I got from my Mom which I believe I over-watered in my excitement and it fell inside itself with rot. [Sorry, Mom. *cough*]
And so the current apartment farming experiment I’ve conducted has been a success of sprawling and epic proportions. Check it out, my first crop:
A couple months ago there was a sale at the university’s Ag department and my co-worker and I trotted down to see what they had. I had had no intention of buying anything yet walked out with sage, basil, and tomato plant. Mr. Tomato’s compatriots died a horribly bemoaned death.
Me: The sage has hit the dirt like a man dead from an ambush.
J: Too much water.
Me, sniffling: But plenty of LOVE DAMMIT.
Tomato-san was only about a foot high when I got him and he easily fit on my window sill. [I shall not tell the tale about dropping him head first and scattering the entire pot of soil all over my floor. I will say that the use of expletives used in rapid-fire succession has been the only thing to quiet the kids in my apartment complex as they had been running up and down the staircase over and over and flippin’ over.]
I’ve learned to prune him and it’s mind boggling to me that there are still plenty of tomatoes to be harvested. Now I can barely fit him on my window sill and the curtain bulges out. I like sitting on the couch and seeing the petals pawing toward the living room in an attempt to love me back. Finally.