Tomorrow, May 20th, is another holiday: Were Those Really Seeds Day?, the day we look at all those pots and patches we’ve been watering regularly and wonder whether those packets of tomato or lupine seeds that we got many weeks ago were actually seeds, or just sand and fine stream gravel, maybe the floor sweepings from some metal-working shop.
I admit that I’m not really cut out for gardening. After expending a lot of time and effort into prepping and planting and all that, I expect to see positive results soon, and average germination times just kinda get under my skin. But then, as the ‘average’ time passes and I’m trying to determine if those little leaves are something that I actually wanted or another set of weeds or grasses, I start wondering why I’m wasting my time. And seriously, I doubt even 25% of the contents in those packets are viable seeds of any kind, and I can’t be the only one. It’s not like I can complain about getting robbed, given that each packet costs like 89¢, maybe as much as a couple bucks, so getting a little envelope of crumbs from the bottom of the toaster isn’t unexpected, really. It’s my fault for believing that something useful can be purchased for that price.
Each year, I vow I’ll do better, and start some seedlings indoors early or make use of the greenhouse, and each year this somehow never goes according to plan. I did indeed start a tray full of tomatoes and cardinal flowers in March, many of which actually sprouted, all of which died. There’s a whole stretch of wildflower, coneflower, and milkweed garden down along the fence, according to the packets, but damned if I can tell it apart from the rest of the yard. Many years back at the old place, I planted a bunch of ‘mixed wildflower’ seeds that produced two aster plants and a stand of dog fennel, which is in no way considered a ‘wildflower,’ though it served some purpose in hosting lady beetles for the summer.
I’m also a little suspicious of the various ‘plant foods’ and fertilizers out there. I’ve added them to the pots of various plants – in the proper amounts, so drop that protest – and have never seen any difference at all, and then, depotting the remains to re-use the pot, I find all those little food pellets still intermixed in the soil. Shouldn’t they have dissolved or something, or did I just buy a bunch of surplus beads from retired art teachers?
Mind you, most of the existing plants around Walkabout Estates are doing fabulous, having greeted the spring with gusto – except for my three butterfly bushes, the ones that I count on for photo subjects, which are doing perfect imitations of the people that comment, “TL;DR” for any post that contains more than a paragraph. We’re talking the classmates that felt beautician school might be too challenging for them. The hosta plants out back are getting ready to challenge Godzilla, but my butterfly bushes appear to be ‘restocking’ the shelves at WalMart. I don’t get it.
Even worse, we maintain a compost bin, much of which gets added to the soil that we use for any new plants or seeds. Which means that without fail, a half-dozen or so squash plants appear within days, solely from what we discarded from last year’s meals. Those bastards are more than happy with the conditions, but we weren’t ever trying to grow those. I’m not good with that kind of mockery.
So, yeah, tomorrow’s a perfect holiday for me to get into, and maybe I’ll get another seed packet just to examine under the microscope, see if I can prove they all came from the seat cushions of movie theaters. It would probably be more productive than my gardening.