Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gardening tips and tales

A few years ago, Mrs. Hall was entertaining outside in the covered porch, and as the ladies looked out over the back forty, one of them commented on the lovely pumpkins running along the length of the fence. She enquired of Mrs. H.'s technique for getting them to grow so well, and Mrs. Hall replied that it wasn't hard, but it took some planning and that you have to begin the year before.
"First, you take all the pumpkins you labored over so long with the carving, and after they get gruesome enough to elicit complaints from your neighbors, you throw them carelessly into a wheelbarrow. Then you toss the remains casually against the furthest most part of the fence, allowing the choicer parts to sort of drool down the slats into place. Though I hadn't read about this anywhere, I suppose it was noteworthy that the dogs messed around in them and ate most of the seeds, spreading the goo about fairly evenly and insuring a healthy distribution. Then you just ignore the whole thing until the following fall, when you begin to notice the trailing vines interfering with the lawn getting mown, and the children harangue you mercilessly to let them grow. Martha Stewart may have her own more widely used methods, but frankly, the results look the same in the end, and besides, I'm tired of that woman ruining my life."
The Monitor is happy to report that this method has once again proved successful in producing seasonal squashy results. Last year, on orders of Mr. Hall, young Ian removed all the pumpkins from the front porch, and in a moment of desperation to finish the job and head to the mall, he quietly dumped the wheelbarrow contents in the ruins of the old wooden planter at the end of the driveway and covered them up with leaves. Thinking no one was the wiser, he rinsed out the wheelbarrow, put it away and subsequently left for the Marines. About two weeks ago, Mr. Hall discovered the volunteer pumpkins waking up and stretching their little viney arms all along the driveway. Colleen managed to intercede for them, curling the vines so they would remain within the confines of the old planter, and just last week, Mrs. Hall discovered the budding beginnings of what will no doubt be a crackerjack jack 0'lantern.
The Monitor will continue to post updated pictures of it's progress throughout the fall. Thankfully, it's hidden under some leaves at this time, so perhaps it will survive the onset of school and any youthful pranksters. Stay tuned.

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