BY Tia Smith
Ah, spring. The season of rebirth, renewal… and really not having any clue what weather to dress for on any given day (or hour, for that matter). This is the time that the world suddenly remembers who it used to be before the dreariness of winter, and starts flexing her groove thang. Its that time where we start to realize that summer and all of its unending heat will be soon upon us again. It’s the dichotomy of crisp, cool days alternating with torrential rain that comes out of nowhere on a random Tuesday.
So, of course, what is the best thing to do in this kind of schizophrenic weather? Why, go outside and roll around in the dirt… or garden.
Like any other socially and environmentally conscious person of this age, I fully ascribe to the need for reaping the benefits of sustainable living. I love the various farmers markets and there is nothing better than fresh produce. Sooo, what could be better than my very own fresh produce. Tomatoes I lovingly coaxed from seedling to juicy morsel. Sweet potatoes I tilled all on my own. Salad on my family’s table plucked from our own garden, so fresh that the caterpillars now have a bone… or a leaf… to pick with me over. Living the dream and perhaps even saving a dollar or two. Sounds lovely, right? Unfortunately, I have a small problem with this utopian landscape. I, ladies and gentlemen, have what is sometimes called a “black thumb”.
I’m not talking, the “normal, not so great at gardening” thumb which could be helped with better knowledge. My black thumb is WAYYYY beyond that. If I touch the plant or even look at it for too long, said plant will basically commit suicide. Death by wither. I mean, I can kill parsley. I even managed to kill rosemary. These are literally the equivalent of weeds that will grow through concrete and they died under my watch. I water plants, they die. I ignore the plants, they die. Basically, I have a radius of a ten-foot no-grow zone.
I don’t come by this naturally. My mom and dad are both amazing at gardening, as is my husband and his parents. My kids are even great at it. For some reason, the buck (or perhaps, the spade?) stops with me. And unfortunately for the souls of the carrots of Bermuda, I haven’t let that discourage me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not spreading my death cooties onto our family garden plot (except in the occasional sideways glance). No, I have my own “kitchen garden” which I shall be tilling shortly for another year of Russian roulette, herb style. This year, I will again plant parsley, cilantro, basil and all the other fun plants that any discerning Food Network aficionado and Ina Garten envying foodie needs to have freshly cut on their counter. And at the end of this year, I will again look morosely upon a patch of land with more weeds than useful plants, I will again hold my tearful in memoriam and I will again wonder, hmm, what plants shall I let die next year?