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In Questionable Taste

People ask if gardening is hard
but that's not the problem
the problem is it's easy
and it really ought to be impossible.

What is this
putting stuff in dirt and expecting to get food back
what are you, a communist?
You bought a bag of cowpeas
not even a proper seed packet with a glossy picture on it
and shoved a couple in the ground.
You know it can't work.

Even fairy tales know better
everybody laughs when Jack trades a cow for beans
a cow is worth something, after all.
The whips that twined up into the hydrangeas have three green leaves
so they must be poison ivy
that's probably it
the things that look like bean pods are a coincidence
it's a new kind of poison ivy
you'll probably be even more allergic to this one.

And the funny thing is that I know this
when they come for me and say "You have to stop now--
you know people aren't allowed to do this sort of thing,"
I'll bow my head and say "I know."
It was much too easy
it had to be illegal
or at least in very questionable taste,
thinking you could put almost nothing into dirt
and get everything back
almost for free.

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I think it would be a very sad world where growing things was against the law. Furtive meetings to swap packets, "Psst! want to buy some beans?"

Of course they are magic beans, guaranteed to fuel your nights with dreams of the delicious crop to follow.

Monsanto is working on that, I'm sure. It's just a matter of killing off everything with public-domain DNA.

I love this poem. Thank you for posting it.


I have a jar optimistically labelled "Ann's Bean Harvest 2016" on my dining room table. So far it has about enough beans to cover the bottom, but the vines are still climbing the deck posts and blooming their heads off, and there's a hummingbird that comes by to visit the flowers. (I planted dry-harvest beans mostly b/c you kept talking about them, and while my garden is mostly native b/c I am horrible at remembering to harvest anything, I figured something one gets to once the pods are dry was probably about my speed.)

Yaaaay! Dry beans are awesome!

We got one soup already out of mine, and I'm having weirdly good luck with a high desert bean for some reason...

Have you seen this - its a sub reddit about how gardening is against the law in NZ (its not, but even I was convinced after reading this, its hilarious!)


Oh man, I feel this poem. Planted a pack of snow peas (Oregon Giants) and never thinned them and they gave bread bags of pods every couple of days through June and July and even hot sunny August and today as I passed the dry, yellow vines on my way to collect cherry tomatoes (who have crawled across the raised bed to invade the peavines) I realized that the green, growing tips were still growing pods.

Also, blackberries. Didn't even plant them, did my level best to chop 'em to the ground last fall, and they're back up over my head, filling a couple of quart buckets every other day.

Illegal Gardens

New Zealand is already way ahead of you: https://www.reddit.com/r/newzealand/comments/4or2o3/my_garden_was_seized_today_fuck_you_rnz_you/


I'd seen the thread with the photo of "mom and the 'illegal' avocado tree" and had no idea. Kiwis trolling everyone on the internet. I can't even be mad I was fooled (it's true I didn't bother to google it). I'm impressed AF.

Another reminder that I miss having a garden. (One of the distinct disadvantages of apartment living.)

Eating delicious honeydew that came out of the ground, that I ignored for most of the summer and let the community garden's auto-watering system take care of, haphazardly thought about weeding once a month or so, and STILL the vines gave me so many melons... it must be cheating.

(Let's not get started on the beets that actually became beets from bizarre little capsule seeds and are now in my fridge floating in pickle brine.)

as a farmer...

As a farmer, this is one of the major upsides to my career/lifestyle! "throw a bunch of seeds on the ground... few days later nothing... a week later nothing... bam! overnight little haze of green from sprouts every where" "what a beautiful open area of grass and legumes that I can't eat... but I put a cow out there and with a little work from the bacteria she hosts in her gut, there is milk and then cheeeeese" (ruminants are SO COOL) "eeeeeeeee there's a baby being born! look at it staring around at the world the first time, so surprise! much cute!" (thousands of calves and hundreds of goat kids later, still doesn't get old) "oh shit cow is sick, cow looks super miserable, let me give the cow this treatment and that treatment and... hey, 20 minutes to 2 days [depending on the ailment] later she looks like a happy critter again and she's back to making milk like a champ!"

biology is awesome.


“All true wealth is biological.”

― Lois McMaster Bujold, Mirror Dance

My downstairs neighbor keeps being impressed at our garden, and declaring that we must be such good gardeners. And I feel like all we did was put stuff in the ground and the raised bed and water it (a lot). Okay, and hack it back periodically, especially when it gets mildewy or turns yellow or brown. But surely I have not done enough work to justify thirty pounds of cucumbers, more tomatoes than we can eat, and enough squash that we're going to have to take over the neighbor's spare room come winter. Some days I feel like I just walk out there and ground cherries fall into my pockets.

And mulch. We've discovered the dangers of mulch. (But it's so great for not having everything covered in grass.)

I love this poem, though I rather partially inherited my great gram's black thumb. Or was it a brown thumb (because the plants withered into sad brown/black dead twigs) we called it? I can't remember.

I tried to start some flowers from seed spring before last and I accidentally drowned all the seedlings, even though I tried to water from the bottom. Anything I can drop into the dirt and leave alone to fend for itself are the best plants for me.

Is it weird that this made me tear up a little? (I miss my garden.)

but admiration.

My mom was someone who, like her mom, could cut a swtch from something she saw interesting on a road side and propagate it in her garden.

Go you!

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