As though designed to make me happy

So A. and I are attempting to have a garden for the first time ever. We planted it with vegetables we would like to eat in March. Needless to say, we planted it again in late April. We have had more than our share of failures, and some few successes.

Not too long ago, we harvested the products of our vermicomposting experiment to enrich the soil of our vegetable garden — hoping to need no other kind of fertilizer. We spread the rich dark soil around the garden. I put some under the dahlias I was planting. We put it in the furrows between optimistically planted rows. And we proceeded to agonize over our surviving tomatos and the cucumber plant.

It rained, and then the sun shone strong and welcoming for a week. I went out one day and lo! There were squash seedlings all over the place! Now, we had planted yellow squash, zucchini and cucumber throughout our garden. None had really deigned to grow more than one or two pale seedling. And now, I surmised, my wicked, evil nemesis Mr. Squirrel had wrough havoc on my garden by stealing my seeds by night, and then hiding them in the ground. Little did Mr. Squirrel know that removing them from their designated location and planting them in another did not prevent them from growing! And gazing at the riot of seedlings skirting my dahlias, figured that Mr. Squirrel, in addition to being evil, was also lazy. He preferred ground that had recently been disturbed. And I went throughout my week cursing the name of Squirrel.

The next weekend, I was weeding the garden, and I decided to move some of the squash plants. There were too many too close together, and looking rather sad around my dahlia. I pulled one up, and prepared to replace it in the ground. There, at it’s base, was a seed. It was not a zucchini seed. It was not a cucumber seed. It was not a yellow squash seed. No, my brethren, it was… a pumpkin seed.

We had planted no pumpkins.

And then the light went off over my head. Mr. Squirrel, while a vile perpetrator of many evils, was not responsible for this one. No. I was. It had not occurred to me that my wormies, in turning food garbage into rich black earth, might leave untouched the seeds of the leavings I had given them. All these plants strewn about my garden sprouted from seeds remaining in the vermicompost.

The best part about this, from my perspective — watching the squashes grow — is that I have no idea what is growing, other than that it will be tasty. We have put into our worm bin butternut squash, pumpkins, cucumbers and yellow squash. We may have put in other sqaush remnants that I don’t remember. Each plant may be a different kind of squash, or they may all be the same. The plants are vigorous (they are well fertilized, recall!), and will likely at some point in the summer reward me with fruit. And only then will I know what it is I inadvertantly planted in my garden.

And that is the exact kind of surprise I like best.

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Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

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