Me and My Black Thumb

May 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

E.O. Schaub

Not so long ago, they used to make you raise your right hand and take the Freeman’s Oath to become a registered voter in Vermont. You know why, of course. It’s so they could see whether you have a green thumb or not.

Now, if you have ever made my acquaintance, when you shook my hand, you perhaps noticed that my thumb is a rather unsightly shade of black. Not coincidentally, I have a rather unfortunate talent for killing plants. Luckily, the kind people of Vermont have decided to overlook this massive character flaw and let me live here anyway, primarily on the basis of the fact that I bake a pretty mean cherry pie.

Nevertheless, ever since moving to Vermont thirteen years ago I have attempted to beat the odds and, perhaps, manage to grow a few things here or there when the gods of nature were otherwise occupied. I mean, what with global warming, catastrophic oil spills and frogs growing extra sex organs, you’d think I could slide a few swiss chard plants by without too much notice. But nooooooo. Rhubarb and zucchini seem to be about all I can grow- or rather- fail to kill.

Take last year. I was exceedingly excited when my husband Steve built two very lovely raised beds for me to plant my doomed vegetables in. I ran to the nursery and brought home several cheerful looking starter plants which would, in time, grow to become slightly larger plants. This, for me, was excellent progress.

The Fortress

So you can imagine my delight when my plants did not die. Okay, well the tomatoes did die. Or, at least, they got really yellow and sickish looking, and gave a very convincing impression of fully intending to die, but only after a prolonged illness, perhaps involving an expensive nursing home. After polling my local friends and acquaintances who speak plant, it was universally agreed that I had made the classic rookie mistake of actually buying and planting tomato plants. Ha! Apparently everybody and their pet cat knew that it was way, way, way too early to plant tomatoes and that the plants they put out around Mother’s Day at the local nurseries are, in fact, stunt tomatoes. « Read the rest of this entry »

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