My father was the dictionary definition of ‘Green Thumb’, whatever the plant was, Gus could grow it. I recall a period in the late 60’s when he spent several years battling with Asparagus. Not for the reasons you might think, he had planted a small patch and was not expecting much success as Asparagus is not easy to grow in the English Weather. His problem was the reverse, for several years he battled with removing Asparagus, a plant he now viewed as a weed!

I did not inherit my fathers ‘green thumb’ gene, plants and I, rarely get along well. Sure, most of the time it is my fault, although, not always! A few years ago my wife came home with a melon, I don’t usually like melon, but this one was unique, it seemed like a cross between a water melon and a cantaloupe. It was so strange that I decided to keep a few of the seeds. The next spring I planted them and had 4 fine looking plants. The kids next door thought it would be fun to pick them, so that was the end of my Mellon growing season.

The year before, I had tried what I saw as a can’t lose gardening adventure. Parsley and Cilantro, what could possibly go wrong? The plan was brilliant. Buy two bags of dirt, cut a side off each of the bags, stick seeds in, water, and wait. No messing with pots, no icky digging in the yard, this was pure genius! Two bags of dirt, two packets of seeds, and an exacto knife, I had the garden that I craved. I was feeling pretty damn good about the whole idea. After a month the plants were doing great, I could already taste wonderful sauces and Carnitas in my mouth.

One Monday morning I was awoken by the sounds of a lawn mower, it didn’t bother me, if my landlord wanted to pay to have the grass cut, it was just fine with me. Being a professional yard maintenance company they always ‘weed whacked’ the areas that the F1 monster driving mower could not get to. I have to admit that I was less than happy to discover that my plants had been given a quick trim by the weed whacker.

Another year I decided that Tomatoes were the way to go. I of course had no interest in the regular sort, I wanted something different. I bought a plant online, it threatened to grow so big that likely SAMs and Bazookas would be required to harvest the monster fruits.I watched in awe. Before you could say ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ I had a 7 foot monster on my hands. I saw victory in my grasp. To help things along I had been adding a scoop or two of ‘Tomato Viagra’ every couple of days. This induced what I now know as ‘Bloom Rot’.

So, yes, my adventures in gardening have been less than stellar so far! But that does not mean that I have given up the quest. This year it is Tomatoes, Green Beans, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, and whatever else I can lay my hands on. To misquote Chairman Mao, importance is in the journey not the destination.

Simon Barrett




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