Monday, September 1, 2014

Grow Your Own, Part 2

I don't have a backyard like my sister does, so my balcony garden is a strictly containers-only arrangement. In the past I've grown - I mean attempted to grow - interesting and ambitious stuff such as cantaloupes and raspberries. The raspberries did fine on their own, but the cantaloupes required pollination. This work is normally falls under the job description of a bee, but our balcony is on the 16th floor, where the flying insects are typically mosquitoes. The one and only time I saw a bee, it was interested only in the tiny flowers of a basil plant. "The cantaloupe flowers, you stupid bee! Go to the cantaloupe! What's your problem?" I shouted, jabbing my finger at the showy blossoms of our cantaloupe plant. Amazingly, the insults and crazed pointing didn't work. The bee ignored me and continued its engagement with the miniature basil buds. My husband ended up pollinating the cantaloupe blossoms with a paintbrush. The plant yielded netted one cantaloupe the size of a softball, thoroughly inedible.

This year I grew some sensible and very good stuff: very sweet cherry tomatoes, flavorful hot peppers and a range of herbs.

I've been pretty delighted with this year's garden. The basil in particular has been bountiful enough to share - the true pride of the summer gardener.

But there's no sense in getting cocky. There in the corner, is the fig tree, faithfully watered in its doomed container with odd bits of failed seed growth and an expired dill plant. 

That's okay. I grew up in a Mets fan family, a cult in which irrational optimism is given voice in the cheer: There's Always Next Year.  

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