Once I tried to cross a muskmelon with a walnut so you would get a melon that wouldn’t bruise. Another time I crossed a prickly pear cactus with a paw paw and got a prickly paw…which is not a marketable name for a fruit.
This time around, I have opted to grow regular vegetables that don’t glow in the dark. My urban farm consists of tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, broccoli and brussels sprouts. I thought at first about putting in a cotton crop but I was told that if it rained to much, the crop would shrink.
As I planted my crops in my 20’ X 30’ plot, I got to know some of the other gardeners sharing the space. They all have their own methods, quirks, and beliefs about growing and after a few visits I envisioned a reality show involving urban gardeners. The title of this future success is, “The Plotters.”
Plotters are gardeners first and foremost but they are also artists, survivalists, experimenters, busybodies, loners, misanthropes, and retired people who like dirt. This is their story. The names have been changed because its easier than getting sued.
As I labored in my plot, early in the season, I was intent on mapping out where everything went. The tomatoes would occupy two rows on the north side while broccoli and brussels sprouts were in the east. Lettuce occupied the epicenter of my garden and the remaining space was occupied by zucchini. It was a beautifully engineered plot. I was proud of my planting and looking forward to meeting my fellow gardeners. The first person I met was Caroline who occupied the plot next to mine. She walked right up to me and said, “You know they’re looking for you.”
I replied with, “Who’s looking for me?” which seemed like a logical question.
“The Park District is looking for you” Caroline said in an exasperated manner, “You planted in the wrong plot.”
OMG. I couldn’t believe it but Caroline was quick to point out the lot marker which I had completely ignored. I went according to the map I received and must have had it upside down.
I went immediately to the Park District office where Glenda said, “How may I help you?” I told her, “I have committed an egregious error and I am here to throw myself on the mercy of the court.”
Glenda looked at me for half a second and said, “You planted in the wrong place didn’t you?” I was so busted. From her reply I could only conclude that the district had put out an APB on me and was waiting to nail me with a subpoena. Then Glenda looked at me, smiled, and said, “Don’t worry, it’s not the first time.”Always good to know that other idiots have proceeded you.
The next person I met was Lucy who had the plot next to me. She actually had two plots and had them fenced off from the rest of us like Stalag 17. Granted, her barrier was orange snow fence but it still marked her territory. When I met Lucy, she looked at my plot and said, “You gonna mulch?” but the way she said it, it sounded more like a command than a question.
Not wanting to argue with someone protected by a fence, I said, “You betcha. Just trying to figure out the best kind of mulch to use.” Well, this tripped Lucy’s gardening expertise trigger because much like Bubba reciting all of the ways of preparing shrimp in Forest Gump, Lucy rattled off my mulch options. “You got your straw mulch, your grass clippings, dead leaves, newspaper, newspaper with dead leaves on top of it, peat moss, Kate Moss, plastic sheets, compost, and Democrats.”
From the look on Lucy’s face, I didn’t dare question her choice of mulch, nor did I offer a differing opinion. I just smiled and said, “Gee, thanks. I think I’ll go with asphalt.” She didn’t smile. I went to the store to get mulch. Next hurdle…watering the crop.