Wednesday, May 07, 2008

How Does Your Garden Grow? (or: Children of the Corn)

Pfffft ...... That's the sound of my deflation.

I am just flat-out tired, and I have nothing to write about. How that makes this post different from any other post I've written, I don't know, but I thought I'd make that disclaimer right away. I feel better now that I've warned you.

Allergies have got three fourths of the children against the wall, and a nice juicy cold has gotten a hold of the last one. We are doling out Zyrtec and Infant's Tylenol like we are running a pharmacy, and it still is not making them sleep. What good is that?

We have a kindergarten readiness meeting next week with Fiver's principal and teachers, and I have been trying to get all of the doctor/therapy information together, but the nice weather has been stressing me out. I know - I'm a crackpot.

It's just that when the weather is pleasant, I feel like I should be working outside in the garden. Or the dirt plot that I dream is a garden. And then, when I am outside, I start to stress about all of the things that are not being done inside the house. Add to that the fact that I have approximately 7.8 minutes per day to get out to the garden before someone starts crying that they are hungry. I'm getting itchy just thinking about.

I've bribed the children to help me with the garden, but that has quickly spiraled out of control. I offered to let the children make the side garden their own, and I also told them they could earn a modest sum for helping me with weed and rock removal.

I should have known better than to mention the project to Fiver unless I was prepared to begin immediately. His poor concept of time combined with his obsessive personality traits make him sound like the Verizon guy of gardening: Are we going out now? How about now? Are you ready now? (Is that the Verizon commercial? Did I get the brand identification correct? I am an ad exec's worst nightmare because I always put the product with the wrong commercial.)

There have also been the interminable, and often heated, dinner table discussions regarding what we will put in the garden once it is ready (How about now?). Here are a few of the children's suggestions, and this is by no means an exhaustive list: sunflowers, roses, cabbage, watermelons, ones like the purple flowers near therapy (lilacs), an oak tree, tomatoes, some like the yellow flowers growing on the side of the highway (weeds), grass, and corn. Especially the corn. They are really gung-ho on growing themselves a bumper corn crop this summer.

I broke down the several reasons why I felt confident in saying that we would not be harvesting any golden ears this year:

  • Your mother is a novice gardener. And that's on her really good days.
  • The only thing I know about planting corn is that Squanto told the Pilgrims to plant their corn with a dead fish for fertilizer. I'm not sure how far that would get us.
  • I'm pretty sure that the four feet of weed and rock riddled dirt next to the air conditioning unit are not enough room for a corn crop.
  • I'm also pretty sure that corn does not thrive in the nine hours of shade and three hours of late afternoon sunlight that falls on that side of the house. Every corn field I've ever seen is right out there in broad daylight.
  • I like to support the local economy by buying some super sweet Silver Queen from the farm stand on the way to the Target.
  • Seriously. See #1.

I think I have managed to talk them out of the corn crop by promising them that they can buy a few ornaments to decorate their garden. I don't need to be psychic to know that that promise will eventually come down to a nail-biting decision between a flock of plastic flamingos or the wooden trompe l'oeil cut-out of the fat lady bending over the garden so that you can see her bloomers.

Maybe I should just let them plant the corn.


  1. Give them some popcorn and two square feet of dirt and see what happens!

    And I have no idea what happens, so don't ask me :O)

  2. We are growing corn. Well, I should say Husband is growing corn. He planted a garden this spring. I made clear to him that it would be his project, what with the nurturing a newborn gig I was taking on. We have sprouts, we'll see what happens.

  3. Anonymous4:30 PM

    Funny, this weekend I thought about planting corn in our backyard. It won't happen though. I'm pretty sure the only spot the dogs won't trample the plants is too shady.

    Let the kids try sunflowers. They will grow on that rocky dry dirt next to the air conditioner as long as there is enough sunlight. I had some sunflower seeds spill out of the bird feeder one year and had sunflowers popping up in the yard at the edge of the deck. That kind of hardiness may survive your children.

    Oh, I'm following you on twitter now!

  4. Roadside silver queen! Oh, I miss that...along with glass bottles of chocolate milk from the Oley Valley, dontcha know....

  5. Anonymous7:34 AM

    Maybe Fiver can come over and help Annaka plant her sunflower seeds that she got at school for earth day and are still sitting on the kitchen counter- I am telling you, same phrases out of her mouth (Can we plant them now? Is Dad ready to help me now? Did you get me a flower pot? How about now?) I really do believe it is the birthday thing.
    Mirabella MOM
    PS- I absolutely suck at gradening so you can consider yourself a master compared to my skill.

  6. Corn. Hmmm. Sunflowers are an awesome substitute and easy to grow, to boot! If all else fails, you could still have some weeds like by the highway!

  7. Anonymous8:09 AM

    PS I apparently suck at spelling too, gradening- sorry
    Mirabella MOM

  8. Jacelyn and I did this:
    It went over well, she loved the painting, we had a fabulous time. And now we have about nine dead plants sitting outside in our lovely, colorful planters. I'm no gardener, either.

  9. not to crush the fun of growing sunflower seeds, but please consider the squirrel population. My sister and I tried to grow sunflowers for many years and the squirrels killed them every year :(... seeing as I didn't live to far from where you are, it might be something to consider.

  10. When my oldest daughter was 3 and we attempted our first community garden plot, we explained to her that we were going to plant seeds and then vegetables were going to grow out of the ground. She became very excited and jumped up and down and yelled, "Let's plant potato chips!"

    Not a bad idea, really...

    With gardening and young children, just keep your expectations really low and remember it's the process, not the product. Otherwise, you just may go crazy.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!


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