7 tagged with #herbology

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radiate


i stepped outside and could feel the sun rubbing against my arms, like the air was barbed and pricking my skin. heat rose from the ground, tickling under my chin. i wanted to jog to the gym, but the thought of exerting myself under this sun wilted all motivation.

instead, i went to the yard and stuck my fingers under the hay, feeling for the cold dampness that kept my potato plants healthy. this is a rough place to grow potatoes, sometimes. some of them haven't broken the surface yet, and i can't bear to cover them with grass cuttings until i can see them. but my eyes swim in the heat, and it's only mid-june, and i don't know what they want.

i covered them. come back to me soon, potatoes.

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14 June 2018 22:22


wet season


i left a plastic cup next to the green onions; over 24 hours, it almost overflowed with rain. the shoots stretch fanatically towards the sky, their cells turgid with fluid as they race to outgrow their cousins. the ones that fall, i pinch off in a quick twist so i can dice it and freeze it before it rots in the dirt. i want to have green onions late into the winter seasons when nothing grows. i will not let any of these go to seed, or become snail food.

all the potatoes i buried have rotted, and i threw them back into the compost in disappointment. ironically, the potatoes my housemate threw into the compost months ago have sprouted, so i extracted those and replaced my failed sprouts.

i never understand what plants want. sometimes, i squat in the grass, staring at them as if they will mutter their desires to me if only i paid enough attention to them. when i was a child, i'd see my father doing the same, while my mother rolled her eyes at him. at least i understand that.

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10 June 2018 17:24


growing season


every morning, i pass the shell of an old bike helmet, hung over the steps that lead outside. in it, i've placed two halved potatoes, the cut sides dusted with cornstarch. i whisper encouragement to them. thank you for working hard, please do your best, i appreciate your tries. some days, i peek in, and still feel anxious that they haven't sprouted tentative exploratory tendrils yet.

i never thought of myself as having a green thumb, but often things grow when i ask them to. sometimes, they die; a succulent withered under my care because i couldn't figure out what it needed, while countless leafy greens i hoped to eat were eaten into submission by cabbage worms i couldn't defeat. the worms need food, too.

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15 May 2018 22:51


seedlings


on april 16th, i filled an egg carton with good dirt and put four seeds into each pod. i labeled one side 'brocc' and the other side 'sprouts', for broccoli and brussel's sprouts, respectively; a dozen pods, 24 seeds of each type.

a week later, each pod had sprouted at least one curious leaf; several sprouted all four. one sprouted something unrecognizeable. i smiled.

over the next month, i prepared a space for them in the yard. i turned up sod, mixed in compost from the previous year's worth of yard and kitchen waste, marked off rows, put up chicken wire to deter ground-walking munchers.

yesterday, may 22nd, i had a bad scare after looking at my sprouts; all of them fell flat from dehydration. over the weekend, i had forgotten to give them attention, because i could hardly take care of myself. seedlings need a little bit of attention every day, and i had let them down.

i watered them apologetically and looked to the sky, hoping that the weather would break soon and let me introduce them to the earth.

today, i put my hands in the soil and smelled the richness of a month's worth of spring rain, microorganic work, and aspirations. it was time; i pulled the egg carton out and inspected it. a few of them had responded to my apology.

i only had enough plots prepared today for six plantings, so i took the three best candidates from each side. the pods with multiple viable seedlings will eventually be thinned to one; from 48 seeds, six plants will be coddled into maturity. i made little pits with a trowel, then carefully pressed each puck of dirt and seedling into the indentations.

dirt responds best to hands. i put my hands against the cool soil and felt the density of each mound, pressing drainage channels and slowly massaging bunkers around each seedling to shelter them. 'thank you,' i whispered to each one i chose. 'thank you for working hard. thank you for pressing upwards. here is the earth and there is the sky; you are now between them and a part of them. do your best. i love you.'

those cells have never touched the earth and have never seen the sun. they sit there now, poking out of the ground like periscopes. their roots will burrow further than i will ever see, and draw matter from the soil to create more of themselves to give to the sky.

if i am worthy, i will eat some of them in the future.

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23 May 2016 20:41


To Ground


Seven pockets of three seeds each. It's early May, but the weather feels indistinguishable from early March. These Brussel's sprouts have a lot to work for; maybe they can do it, because they like the cold. But they still need some warmth to germinate. I'm leaving the country in two weeks and I do not know how they will handle life without me.

Nonsense, plants don't care. Plants don't have feelings. Plants don't notice when you ignore them; they work on a time scale so slow that nothing we do could possibly affect them.

But it does.

I want them to grow and do their best, even if I can't eat them afterwards.

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03 May 2014 15:03


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