Archive for November 9th, 2011

The Plant Dance


Posted by Mikie Baker  |  2 Comments »

Fall is my favorite season. The leaves turn colorful, the mornings are crisp and there is no more constant air conditioner hum. My favorite fall pastime is watching those blasted bugs at The Funny Farm freeze to death. Simply delightful.

There’s only one thing about fall that I find problematic. I call it The Plant Dance. You may not be an obsessive gardener like me, but if you’ve got at least one outdoor plant, you’ve probably been doing The Plant Dance, too.

It starts simply enough. You’re sitting on the porch during a lovely 74 degree evening. Life is beautiful until you saunter by the television where you hear the evil weatherman announce that tomorrow winds are going to blow 90 mph, stop after dark and the temperature is going to plummet to 29 degrees the following morning.

Normally at this point, I march back out on the porch, stare down at my 50 or so potted plants and say, “Look, it’s only for one night. I’ll cover you up and you’ll be fine. If not, I guess you’ll just croak because I am not dragging all of you into the garage for a one night freeze. Best of luck.”

Then I spend the next evening fighting high winds armed with sheets that are so old, they’re crib sized and up. And rocks which, luckily, I grow around here. Something has to stop the sheets from sailing off into the night. 

The Plant Dance goes on for a month or so, with my weekly pilgrimage to the garage for sheets galore. Finally I, and all other gardeners, give up the dance. We go ahead and injure our lower backs by toting all the plants to their winter survival spot. 

Personally, I always ignore my winterized plants. They are so close to death when I pull them out in the spring; I begin bragging on how I can bring almost any nearly dead plant back to life. Is there a law for plant abuse? 

But we can’t forget about the vegetable garden. I’ve learned from experience, it’s just best to go out, harvest everything you possibly can and then let your summer garden drop dead. It’s very helpful in the mourning process to have already planted your fall vegetables so you don’t go through total green withdrawal. 

But this year, things are a bit different in The Funny Farm. I have the Magical Eggplant Bush that has produced nearly 100 eggplants through the summer. I feel like he’s part of the family, though my neighbors are getting pretty sick of free eggplant. 

Well, it may not be their loss, but it will be mine. For a mere $2.29, one simple 3 inch pot turned into a huge bush that never quit spitting out beautiful, purple eggplants. 

So yesterday, I went out to the garden, grabbed a stool, sat down and had a long talk with the Magical Eggplant Bush. I thanked him for his long months of service, beautiful fruit and pretty purple flowers. In fact, I even told him he was my favorite plant in the garden. I know, I know, you should never have a favorite. 

Actually, I think he was a bit relieved to know his production days were over. He gave me the last 15 eggplants he had to offer and fell silent. As I left the garden, I looked over my shoulder at him and said, “Oh, what the heck. It’s just one night. I think I’ll bring you a blanket.” 

Sometimes it’s hard to give up your favorite dance partner.

Spreading food throughout the world…one vegetable at a time.

Mikie Baker