Tuesday, July 06, 2010

How Green Was My Thumb

The dirt accumulating under your fingernails. The cuts and scratches on your hands, arms and legs. The pain in your lower back from constantly bending over. The sun beating down on your head and neck, baking the muscles and tendons beneath your flesh. The salty sweat that drips into your eyes and blinds you, but you can’t wipe it away because of all the damn dirt on your dirty, dirty hands.

And those are the good parts.

Gardening. What’s that all about? We live in the 21st century right? Shouldn’t we have robots to grow our produce for us by now? That’s partly why we Negroes got out of the whole slavery/picking cotton racket--we saw the future and we knew robots were the way to go. (That’s a lot of foresight on our behalf)

And yet…and yet…people seem to like the back-breaking labor involved in running a garden. Some people do it as a hobby, some people do it to be able to eat, some people do it because they’re prepping for the end of civilization, but everybody does it for the end result: the fruits (and/or veggies) of their labor*.

My friend John recently got me into gardening. Not as much as he’s into it of course, I’m more of a fair-weather gardener. John, on the other hand, is so into gardening that he’s about two steps away from buying a bunch of Birkenstocks, growing some white guy dreds and living out in a smelly, unwashed commune with like-minded “Sons of the Soil”**.

John has a nice bit of ground in a larger, communal garden here in the nation’s capital. He was kind enough to share a piece of his parcel with me. So I’ve got about a 6 x 2 area in which to practice my cultivation skills.

Wanna know what I’m growing? There are literally tens of options! Like: tubers, cantaloupes, hot dogs, breakfast cereals, orangutans, marijuana, butter, etc. Being the neophyte that I was, I decided to go with simple, easy things to grow that even a ‘tard like me couldn’t mess up. Things like sticks, pebbles, pieces of broken glass, dead vines and dirt. I’m kind of proud of my dirt crop. It’s coming in nicely! I’ll have enough dirt to last until next summer.

I’m also growing squash, carrots, broccoli, green peppers, cucumber and radishes. It’s only been about two months, but I’m lovin my veggies. There really is no feeling like when you harvest your own veggies that you planted and toiled over and lovingly watered with the cheapest beer money can buy, (that’s a lie, I just drank a lot of beers then peed on the plants. But it seemed to work!) I mean, I’ve heard that when your first child is born, that’s pretty special too. But who are they kidding, you can’t eat a baby! (at least, not without the right barbecue sauce.)

Besides the tips I’ve already given so far (and that would be…no tips) on how to be an expert gardener, I’ll leave you with one more. People tend to go with all types of fertilizers, both organic and man-made. They use different soils with varied amounts of nitrogen, calcium and unobtanium.

Me? I just use the dead bodies of those who have wronged me. I have found that bill collectors and people who cut me off in traffic bring just the right nutrients to the soil. Also…elementary school bullies. (I say that in jest, and yet, why do I get the sinking feeling that this is going to come back to haunt me in court one day?)

*People who only have flowers in their gardens confuse me. They’re about as useful as people who make and paint wax fruit.

**Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He will be very useful after the Robot Uprising, or the Zombie Apocalypse, or if those Tea-Partiers ever gain political office.

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