Wednesday, November 12, 2008

seeing red

i think i might have a black thumb.

no, seriously.

I somehow managed to kill a rosemary plant. You should have seen the horrified look on the face of the garden guy at our farmers market when I explained to him why I needed to know very specific instructions on caring for the new one. And I am pretty sure I saw him watching me while I browsed the strawberry starts, probably making sure I wasn't harming them by getting to close. Although, I am not too sure how he thought I could hurt those darling little plants. I mean, it's not as though I carry a bottle of weed-be-gone in my purse, whipping it out whenever I am threatened by a stray basil bush.

Thankfully I have an accomplice in T. Together we wage war on the chlorophyll that surrounds us by systematically imposing periods of drought followed by massive floods. I think the technical terms are "forgetting to water,"and "over-watering." Its actually quite sad, seeing as how both of our families have turned out more than one card carrying, green thumbing, garden genius type. Case in point - my brother runs an Organic Farm which manages to not only yield enough produce to feed his family, but then he sells the excess, for profit, at a farmers market! It is truly mind boggling that we share the same genes.

And yet every spring finds me filled with fresh hope that perhaps this is the year my gardening skills will kick in. I make the Saturday morning farmers market pilgrimage carefully choosing the plants that look the healthiest. I get lured in by those Early Girl tomatoes, whose yellow buds whisper promises of summertime salsas and salads. And the handsome heirloom varieties that hint at a scrappy will to live. They all get chosen. And when the garden guy isn't watching, I nonchalantly slip a strawberry start into my tray, hoping that this year it will live.

And so, you can imagine the epic failure we experienced this year when our natural ineptitude combined with an extremely wet and chilly summer. Our entire harvest consisted of about 8 tomatoes, 1 strawberry, 2 jalapeƱos (that never got hot), and a couple of sprigs each of dill and sage. It was a dismal failure.

So instead of feasting on the glorious fruits of our own hard work, we did what any self-respecting urbanite would do: we hightailed it back to the market, bought 20 dollars worth of organic tomatoes, and proceeded to can them, fully willing to pass them off as "ours" come winter.

My pantry shelf is now stocked and ready.

And there is always next year...