Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maven of Propagation

In which our Heroine desires to become the Maven of all Growing Things. 

                The people in my family tend to be natural green thumbs.  I am used to back yard havens filled with a million kinds and colors of green, domestic places that are an oasis for both human and animal.  Of course, my apartment lifestyle has steeply hindered my progress at becoming the maven of all growing things (an ambition held close to my heart), but nevertheless I have tried my utmost to continue this legacy with houseplants, at least.  With the exception of my nemesis-plant the geranium (a plant with an innately pretty-princess attitude that apparently clashes somehow with my green persona), I have had considerable success with other objects of leaf and petal.
                Perhaps due to my farming childhood, I often take it for granted that everyone would naturally feel this compulsion to lay down roots, so to speak.  Oddly, this is not the case, even in an age of successful urban gardening.  Gardens are few and far between in the South Anchorage suburb—and by the way, Alaska has a fantastic growing season because of the impossibly long daylight hours in the spring.  Strangely, I lack all empathy toward this deficiency of gardening zeal.  I know it’s a lot of hard work, but how can all these people resist?  Can they not feel the pull of the earth beneath them?  Do they not wish to lay their fingers at the base of a swiftly growing plant?  Do they not get sucked into standing aimlessly in front of seed displays at the grocery store?  Have they not seen the green shoots of grass fighting their way through thick thatches of brown?  Why?  How?
Alaska gardening is not that hard.  You just have to start seeds indoors and choose plants that prefer cooler rather than warmer weather.  Berries, pumpkins, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, lettuce—these make a successful gardening plan.  I am doing a container garden this year, because I am easily overwhelmed by the state of my decrepit yard.  Basically, I think the chickweed is stronger than I am.  Except for when I decide to harvest it because it is highly edible.  (I can’t help it—I have a gardening gene somewhere deep within). 
Last night I used 50 or so Dixie cups and some dirt to start some seeds in my kitchen.  I chose all Alaska growing plants, and then added a few tomatoes into the mix.  These do not grow well in Alaska without a green house.  But I am convinced that my last three summers here were but half-shadows of the season partly due to the lack of fresh tomato—they just smell so green—and without them, it is just not summer.  I would really like these tomatoes to work more than any other plant.  In fact, back in January, I specially ordered a Siberian tomato named Sasha’s Altai .  This, with Yellow Pear and Oregon Spring, will be my great experiment this summer.  Also, I plan on doubling the number of my houseplants (3 so far—they’re expensive, okay?) Yep, its spring, and I feel the need to propagate—you know, with green stuff.

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