The morning after our return to the land of the triple A bond rating, the Gort, Percy and I drove to our community garden box. We talked in the car of what we might find in our little wooden box after more than three weeks away.
Lettuce? Carrots? Golden Beets? Peas? Green Beans?
We pulled up to the curb beside the garden and jumped out of the dirty, bug-laden van. We saw bounty before us, spilling over from the sea of garden boxes. It was lush, green, beautiful. And then I saw it.
There was one garden box that was neither lush nor beautiful. Instead of edible abundance, it was filled with tall green plants with tiny white flowers.
It was ours, of course. I knew right away by the tell-tale plants with pod-like protrusions and white flowers. The same plant that had monopolized our garden box the year before. The thing no one seemed capable of identifying, except moi.
If it looks like a radish, if it smells like a radish, there’s a good chance it is a radish. And not just one. Forty.
‘Hey mom, we have peas!’ the Gort shouted excitedly. Seemingly oblivious to the aesthetic and culinary disappointments that plagued our box. He proceeded to pick the twenty plump pods that had materialized in our absence. And,while he picked that which was edible, I picked that which was inedible.
I yanked forty radish plants from our box with a very annoyed grip. I dumped the annoyances on the ground, by my feet, and two minutes later, I had a two-trips-to-the-compost-bin pile. Except the compost bins were full, which meant I had to load the over-excited radishes into the just-cleaned car-van.
The garden box looked….sparse: a few heads of too-large, past their expiration-date lettuce. A row of tiny carrot plants. A row of puny Golden Beet plants. And some peas.
The tomatoes we’d planted – from actual large plants instead of seeds – were the size of pearl earrings.
‘Will they make it?’ I asked our local garden-box-expert several days later. ‘Yes, they’ll make it,’ he assured me. Which I took to mean I might be eating tomatoes in October if the weather cooperated.
‘Have you been feeding it?’ the expert inquired. I stared at him with non-computing-eyes. ‘Feeding it?’
He laughed the laugh of a smart person dealing with a complete idiot. ‘What number are you?’ ‘E2.’ ‘I’ll stop by and feed it.’
And then, just to drive his point home, he stopped by my garden box while I was taking leave of my pitiful harvest. ‘Those leaves are yellow,’ he said, pointing to my carrots. Or maybe it was the peas. ‘That means they’re starved of nitrogen.’
I blame the radishes.