Monday, April 6, 2009

Altadena Homestead: Scared Straight


I visited some chap's gardening blog the other day and sat through a five-minute video on asparagus planting. Prepare the soil, mulch, dig, double dig, hill up, gently lay, blah blah blah.

I could have told him -- nothing on earth will respect you if you're always on your hands and knees. Be a man; kick a little asparagus butt.

Over time, I've learned a different approach to gardening, and coddling isn't part of it. It's tough love, without the love.

I shake my vegetable seedlings out of their plastic pots and onto a bench, and give them 'the talk.'

"Look," I say, "it’s nature vs nurture, and you’re getting nature. I’m going to drop you in a shallow pit, shovel a bit of dust on your head, and then it's up to you. I’m not going to tell you life is easy, because it’s not. Things will get cold, and hot, and wet, and dry. I’m not god, for christ sake, I have no control. You decide whether you want to live or die. Neither option is perfect. Even if you choose the former, I’ll be eating your children."

Self-respect -- it's what's for dinner.

34 comments:

  1. A petrifying post. I need a drink and I'll get it myself.

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  2. I stir fry my self respect with a little garlic.

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  3. I microwave the leftovers but sometimes there isn't much left over.

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  4. Informative post. Where is the asparagus butt located?

    Gardening Guy

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  5. The Altadena Ghoulish Gardener? I've sent all my seed packets out of the room, they're googling vegan genitalia.

    VW carotar

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  6. I have nothing really constructive to say but my WV is GENICKOM and I swear I couldn't keep my mouth shut!!
    Is that some gynecologist's website?
    V
    PS Eat your heart out K!

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  7. Thanks, KB, 4 reminding me about de leftover stir-fry from yesterday.

    However, I could certainly use some garlic: is it pick your own at your garden?

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  8. I'm surprised asparagus needs such TLC. Where I grew up, it grew wild in the irrigation ditches, and tasted quite yummy nonetheless!

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  9. Hmm, this seems to have taken two left turns from a serious horticultural discussion. But apparently we're back.

    I suggested these same techniques to my brother when he had problems with my 10-year old nephew. It's fine to tell a kid, "You're not a bad person, you did a bad thing." But I suggested he add, "And you'll probably burn in hell for it."

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  10. Can you come over and give the same talk to all the living things inhabiting my house?

    (Oh, and my WV is too perfect: banter, as in cancer banter)

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  11. Survival of the fittest!

    Come to think of it, my mother had similar approach. I was raised as a free-range child.

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  12. I will not ever drink while reading your blog again. Thankfully it was just water and now I know my imac is water resistant. YOU are hilarious. So glad I discovered Altadena bloggers!

    Michael

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  13. If it doesn't work for you I suppose you can always go back to succulents, hollyhocks and Trader Joes.

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  14. Hey Michael! You have an open invitation. (Tho I do sort of hate you because you have an imac and I'm stuck with a clunky old dell. It was so much cheaper.)

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  15. This is exactly how I garden, except without the seedlings.

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  16. KB
    You and I garden alike. Maybe we could collaborate on a new business venture. A garden shop, Shallow Graves, where our motto is: " We kill 'em before you get 'em. We'll save you a trip".
    V

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  17. I have a couple of lazy artichoke that could use a stern lecture.

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  18. I can already envision your vegetable boot camp for less-than-agreeable seedlings. You might be able to pitch this to Dr. Phil as a recurring segment!

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  19. As a tomato, I fear you do not understand my tenderness, my naivete', my vulnerability to every horned worm that comes along to nibble on my pale green stems.

    Am I to decide alone to live in the face of such bricky hardness?

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  20. LMAO; the James Bond approach to gardening "Live and Let Die".
    My approach too, is there a better way (rhetorical,) nope!

    For the Gardening Guy: Your a guy? and you ask the where the asparagus butt is? Just start at the tip and follow the shaft down, where the hell have you been?

    Tomato, you just need these:
    http://www.ohgizmo.com/2005/12/08/james-bond-gardening-tool/

    Mid-Town G

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  21. They say you should plant under the spring moon-
    Alright, I admit its a cheeky ploy to get you to come to my party,
    but why not?
    Bring the garlic chips, snarkgirl.

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  22. We could use your management skills at my work!

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  23. PS - what a LOL sqrd piece. You could of taught a thing or 2 to Jefferson.

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  24. Midtown, not in front of the tomatos.

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  25. Moi? or the CEA? And about what?

    Mid-Town G

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  26. G: Your mapquest to the aspargus butt is truly alarming.

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  27. Somehow my comment disappeared. Most likely I spelled my damn fake word wrong and it never posted. I admire your ruthless farm skills. Clearly those Swedish filmmakers have nothing on you when it comes to showing life's harsh reality. Kill the veges! Kill!

    Oh, and my word is amica. That's a nice one.

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  28. Thanks for stopping by. Seems to me that you have the perfect recipe for indoor and outdoor gardening success, just add a tsp. of neglect.

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  29. I think you've got it, Antjas. Plants have done fine without our interference for a very long time.

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  30. Don't tell Petrea I said this, but she just doesn't like to weed.

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  31. You haven't seen me lately, Hiker.

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  32. Well then you're better than I, but of course you are. Weeding is the one thing I can't bring myself to do. but my hands are now bloody pulps from cutting back roses and bamboo.

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  33. No, you're better. Planting is the thing I can't bring myself to do.

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  34. Ha! Indeed you did!

    Psychotherapeutically speaking, you know of course that sowing the seeds of fear now will almost certainly result in the plants abandoning you later and/or developing some kind of complex neurosis in which they 'll cling to you (I'm thinking vines and other climbers) and fail to establish their own ego separation.

    Er...or something.

    Tears before bedtime, I think.

    At the very least :)

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