September 6th, 2011
By: Rachel Kowaleski
Spending so much time alone in the garden makes you strange. With no one else to talk to you start conversing with your vegetables. You tell them when you’re angry or frustrated, you also let them know when they’ve "done good" and you’re very pleased with how far they’ve come. I often find myself looking up from the garden after cursing my overly aggressive squash or encouraging a struggling tomato plant, to see the neighbours looking over at me suspiciously, not certain whether or not they should say "good morning" or bring their children inside and lock the doors. You ask the plants if they are thirsty and apologize for any neglect, and feel wildly guilty when something falls over or gets stepped on. I’m finding it to be a very emotional pastime. You also start to notice the personalities of each type of vegetable plant, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about my little friends and what I’ve noticed about them throughout the season. The opportunity is especially exciting since (as I’m sure many of us have started to notice) friends and family start to look glazed over or pick up their I-Phones as soon as you start rambling on about how to cure your cucumber plants of the fungus on the leaves you just noticed the other day, and whether or not you think beets grow best in full sun or not.
I’ll start with my tomatoes. Tomatoes are like very loyal friends, you put in the initial groundwork and they won’t disappoint you. All they ask is for something to lean on and a little time and they will reward you more than you could have ever anticipated, making you frantically look through your cook books finding every tomato recipe you can lay your hands on. My squash is another vegetable plant with a very distinct personality. The squash run the show in my garden. They are very dramatic and refuse to be ignored. I find myself constantly trying to find things for them to climb on to just keep them away from my other vegetables; they would take over everything if I let them. They are aggressive, dramatic, and prickly and they refuse to be contained by anything, definitely large and in charge. My beets are polar opposites to the squash, they hang out in their little piece of the garden, not bothering or trying to over shadow anyone. Slowly plodding along until one day you finally look down and notice them, suddenly feeling sorry to have to rip them out of their dark cozy beds. My peppers are fickle and difficult to predict, while my eggplants and beautiful and strange.
I guess what I realized at the end of the day is: farming won’t make you rich, but at least you’ll never be lonely.
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