15 May 2006


When it comes to growing plants, I never really had much of an urge. My maternal grandmother was a horticultural wizard, able to grow damned near anything. She had a bamboo grove in her backyard, and growing up my brother and I could have Star Wars-style lightsaber fights with 20 ft. long dried bamboo poles. She grew championship roses and African violets and tulips and daffodils and all sorts of other things. In fact, there wasn't a surface inside or outside that wasn't covered with a growing plant. She passed away a few years ago.

On both the maternal and paternal sides of my family, I'm descended from farmers. Mostly cotton, with some corn and the odd livestock for family provisions. What remains of the family farms are mostly used for cotton, which is still one of the major cash crops of the Mid-South. I never spent any time working on a farm, and aside from one summer when we raised corn and pumpkins in the backyard, I have no experience farming. However, this year I was for some reason compelled to grow things. Here's a list of what's currently growing in my various pots and gardens:

Microgreens, Basil, Chives, Rosemary, Greek Oregano

Tomatoes: Brandy Boy, Fourth of July, Yellow Pear, Big Mama, Sweet Baby, Sun Gold, Husky Red
JalapeƱo Peppers, Cilantro, four colors of carrots (yellow, orange, red, purple)

The herbs are going quite well, and I'm able to harvest them along the way and grow more as needed. It will be a month or two before I harvest any tomatoes, but I'm really looking forward to all of these unusual varieties. As for the carrots, I'll be amazed if any of them make it, but I'd really like to try a purple carrot at some point in my life.

Why am I doing this? There's some things you can't buy in the store or at the farmer's market. For instance, those little yellow pear tomatoes. The size of cherry tomatoes, but shaped like a pear and bright yellow, with a delicious flavor. Stick on a toothpick with a chunk of feta cheese and a basil leaf. Flavor bomb appetizer.

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