And There Was Life!

I could hear Jorge repeatedly calling me from somewhere beyond the house walls, the sound of it echoing slightly in the dim cool interior. Jorge showed no sign of ceasing or coming inside, so, sighing, I set down my book and amicably wandered out.




He pointed at something in the garden with our bright orange spade. I squinted at the row of tomatoes and black mint but saw nothing beyond the usual array of green leaves and black soil. Rolling his eyes he lifted a leaf to give me a clearer view.


“Oh!” I exclaimed. “A tomato!! It’s so cute!”


This brought on more eye rolling from Jorge but we high fived and I ran to grab my camera to document some of our first produce.


The garden, apart from the appearance of our first tomatoes, has had a whole slew of unfortunate events occur within it’s small and leafy confines. First off, a well-meaning reader of the blog suggested I put salt in the garden in order to keep the marauding slugs at bay. That seemed like an excellent idea to me and I happily flung salt far and wide until things were thoroughly doused and presumably armored against the slugs. The salt didn’t quite have the effect I was hoping but to be fair the slugs did not seem to return for some time. Perhaps though that was because they had nothing more to eat seeing as how most of the plants promptly wilted and died within a space of twelve hours. Evidently the salt needs to go around the boarder of the garden and not on top of the leaves. I suppose anyone with any real sense of how to grow plants would know that, but for me this whole garden thing is rather an unknown. Live and learn, right? Or perhaps in this case die and learn.


A few things managed to survive the salt attack – mostly the garden beds where I neglected to put salt – and a week ago I finished collecting the sugar snap peas, pulled out the rest of the lettuce, which for reasons unknown to us was bitter and inedible, and harvested a few potatoes the size of my thumbnail. I think they were tasty but hard to say seeing as how they were so small.


The largest and strongest of the plants were just recovering from the salt – they lost a number of their leaves – when our septic went absolutely berserk and naturally the septic hole (and yes I mean hole and not tank) happened to be, you guessed it, directly below our biggest garden bed. Jorge and I spent an afternoon relocating our peppers, cabbages, roses, sweet peas, and the last surviving squash, to a new bed and mournfully bid the potatoes goodbye. I was pretty sure everything was going to keel over from the shock of being transplanted but on the contrary the cabbages seem to have flourished in their new and shadier environment. So much so that yesterday they had an incredible transformation and have now become cauliflower. Who knew a plant could do such a thing? I nearly choked with laughter when I pulled back a leaf on the biggest plant to see how it was doing and discovered a little cluster of white florets. I turned to Jorge snorting and asked him what exactly it is he had bought from the farmer.


“Repollo.” He replied, clearly baffled.


We had gone over this a number of times already. The word for cabbage had been difficult for me to remember and he clearly thought I had forgotten it once again.


I grinned, “You’re sure about that?”


I pulled back the leaf a little further and pulled him towards the offending plant.

He had the grace to look thoroughly abashed but said in as dignified a way as possible.


“Well that’s lucky. I like cauliflower a lot more than cabbage anyway.”


So I suppose the thirty or so cauliflower seeds I planted yesterday are no longer needed but who’s to say what disaster may befall the huerta next. As long as the tomatoes survive I’ll be happy.


Oh, and as a side note, we got rain this week! The first time in a month, and it rained for real. None of that sprinkling spitting nonsense that leaves one feeling damp but the ground parched. We had a proper three-day downpour that has left the ground springy and the air heavy with the smell of moisture. People practically danced in the street when the first heavy drops fell a few days ago. Maybe the tide of fortune is turning. I hope so. We could use a little bit of grace.




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