It began on Saturday morning, when my mother in law mentioned that she and father had just picked up a room humidifier for a song at Bed, Bath and Beyond. (It began as a full concert, but once you added up all the little deals and coupons, it was merely a song.) Being that we needed a room humidifier for a bedroom with the humid-ery (See Albert the Alleycat, 1975, WITI-TV6 Weather) of the Sahara, we dashed off to get one.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear but a good sized box with an indoor growing kit! And it was perfectly priced, as well, at a mere $149! My Medicare payment could wait! Oh, joy, oh, rapture! February 25th and I could start growing indoors! (After their $50 promo discount and with a 20% off coupon, it came to a mere $79! Which convinced my wife to push the icepick only an inch or two into my chest for spending money we don't have! How she puts up with it all, I certainly don't know. She can't go anywhere with me.)
Herbs! Fresh herbs! Growing right there in the kitchen alongside whatever is under the refrigerator grabbing at the cat. We've got two kinds of basil, thyme, parsley, dill and mint. I wish we had oregano rather than mint, but shoppers can't be choosers. Well, they can, they just can't open boxes in the store and trade out product willy-nilly. Miracle Gro frowns on such actions, as does the lady at the store named Edna.
My problem with mint is ... once you've got mint, you've always got mint. Damn thing grows like crazy and you can never quite get rid of it. Just like strawberries. Ten years after planting strawberries and digging them out after the Rabbit Overlords ate them all, they keep coming back.
Their roots are indestructible, just like Superduperman, except of course in that movie where they killed him. Strawberries should get the big red S because they last longer than Superduperman.
It's basically a hydroponic system, with nutrients added to water and then the seeds inserted in these little grow pod thingies. It looks just like the garden June Lockhart was always fiddling with on "Lost in Space," when she wasn't cleaning up after Debbie the Space Chimp.
The LED lights provide sunlight for growing. Everything is on a timer and it tells me when to add both water and nutrients. And, once the herbs get going, they are supposed to flourish. You can also plant vegetables in the system -- cherry tomatoes and such. I don't know if I'll go that far, but I do like the idea of hovering over some plants for the next few weeks while I wait for the okay to take over the kitchen table for the main event and my Super Stalin Collective Farm Grow Kit, with miniature tractor and numerous unhappy serf figurines.
Having just put it all together, I say a little prayer over the seeds and hope that the damned thing doesn't burn the house down.
The Deluxe Set even came with its own guard dog. We have named him Wrigley and he is devoted to the herb garden. He is fitting in nicely.
Until next time! Onward, my fellow gardeners to High Herb Adventure!
(Not that kind of High. Not that kind of Herb. But -- that kind of Adventure!)
One of the great things about Ferbryay, Febyouhairy, Febroorary ... the second month of the year, is the joy of digging through seed packets and catalogs, digging compost into soil and plotting out what you're going to grow and when you are going to grow it.
That demands: a plot, a map, a plan, an idea of where everything will wind up this season. Every stinking little seedling needs to be placed perfectly, in order to ensure room to grow, ability to catch water and sunshine, plus have enough space between plants so that nothing is damaged when Furious George decides to do a drunken meringue in between the tomatoes in the middle of the night.
Online vegetable plots are notoriously unreliable, as you're not sure what growing conditions or soils they are meant for -- and -- as they may be done in a language that you are not comfortable in translating. With the above, Socorro, I know, is a kind of Hatch Chile, but there's no way Bernalillo translates to "tomato" ("tomatoe" if you're a Republican Vice President).
This map, for instance, tells me nothing about where to plant anything. The most it tells me is, based on the words, where I don't want to live. I think I'll stick with the Great State of "Underlying." This map might also refer to Growing Zones. I am in Zone 5, which, according to Benemann's Growing Zone Guide (See "Walsh, Growing Zones for Complete Idiots," Chapter 4, Page 15) translates into "Perma Frost with Slight Chance of Frozen Tundra Near Morning."
In other words, I can plant only frozen vegetables.
This is obviously not a map, but a message I'm required to place in today's blog by King Bunniculus the Third, Emperor of the Lower Garden.
Why, you may ask, is a garden plot, a map, so essential to summer success and happiness? Well, many plants don't work well near each other, while others actually help vegetables along in their growth. With a good plot, set up and adhered to, you're not likely to wind up with a shit-ton of unwanted zucchini come August. (Unless you are bedeviled by the same damned little bastards who changed the labels on the plants last spring at the garden store!) You know where everything is, what everything is supposed to be, and in doing so, you eliminate surprises -- except, of course, for that unforeseen electrical cable you found six inches underground in the upper garden. (When I cut it, it buzzed, but nothing went out, even though the neighbor screamed at that same moment and was later carried away in an ambulance.)
Here we see a fine example of a plot designed for an irregular piece of ground. In the southeastern corner of this plot, intend to plant one giant sunflower that looks like a glaring eyeball. Don't ask me why. Some strange little croaky voiced sumbitch told me it had to be that way, then tried to yank my wedding ring off my finger while screaming, "Precious!"
What I like about this plot is its ability to be seen from a distance, also, its resemblance to the layout of a pizza. This would make a good tomato plot. Also, a good science fiction plot for Matt Damon.
I was intrigued by this and determined to follow it this year in the layout of the lower garden, Nora, but then I realized that it was a map of my lower intestine from my last colonoscopy.
This plot was loaned to me by an old high school friend who always brought an oscilloscope to school each day. He'd hook it up to various things and make notes about what the little green line was doing, then he'd nod and say things like, "NASA will want this information." He was also really good at Chess and AV Club. Go ahead, laugh at him. He can now buy us all 4-5 times over.
This is a very nice plot, which from my vantage point, has numerous marijuana plants built into the scheme. I don't have a problem with it, but the Colorado Farming and Drug Growing Collective Extension Office is discouraging me from planting ... well, let's call it "hemp," shall we? ,,, as long as young people like Mr. Bitterman and Furious George are working for me.
Now, I ask you -- would I let long tenured and favorite employees, both of whom are like family to me, go, simply so I could grow marijuana, ganja, mary-jane, weed, Aunt Mary, A-Bomb, Astro turf, Bamba, Cheeba, Pot, janju, peekaree, el humo torpedo, hacky sack, kiff, locoweed, Mutha, potlicker, sticky-icky, zoom, zol, zay or zambi and reap huge profits along with the eternal enmity of a certain Mr. Sessions and the entire Justice Department of These Here United States of America? ...
...No. No, of course not.
So, with no help from either the Interweb or the Guv'mint, I've had to lay out my own plot for this season. Here is the plot for Nora, the lower garden, not drawn to scale, because I can't draw so good. Bitterman and Furious got ahold of it before I could make a copy, which is why Utah and the Squirrel Poop are on there. The coffee came from me. The Amazon HQ2 came from Jeff Bezos.
"Ah, where oh, where, should I place the jambalaya plants?"
"Next to the Vodka saplings."