A week ago, I planted 13 of my tomato plants. This weekend, I finished planting my remaining ten plants. It was cold, wet, and rainy in the garden; it was quiet around town, too. I guess everyone was inside watching Tee Vee or playing Candy Crush Saga. I dragged out a bunch of garden tools, cages, and stakes and I stomped back and forth between the garden, the shed, and the barn for four hours on Saturday and another six hours on Sunday. An observing scientist would have said “that woman is expending a lot of joules.”
Uncle Bob, not a scientist, did come out from time to time to see how I was doing and to make sure I hadn’t passed out in the garden. He’d make small talk. At one point he asked me what other things I was planting. I’m glad he didn’t ask about peppers.
I have started peppers from seed for the last three years and they’ve always done well. I started some this year, too. I soaked the peat pellet disks and placed them on the heat mat in a dark place. Pepper seeds germinate best in a warm and dark place. After five or six days, I started checking them, looking for sprouts.
Nothing was happening.
I kept checking for another week and still no peppers had sprouted. I took one of the pellets and gently examined it. I removed the netting on top of the pellet and pushed the peat around with a toothpick. Was the seed rotting? Then it dawned on me that I had forgotten something important. I had neglected to put any seeds in the pellets. Nothing was germinating.
Zero times zero equals zero.
I was devastated; I felt like a gardening failure. What if one of my blog readers found out I didn’t know everything about gardening? What if they found out I wasn’t the Julia Child of gardening? I can hear the accusations now:
“She’s a fraud!”
“She’s a search-engine garden blogger, writing about the things of which she knows NOTHING!”
“She’s a PRETENDER!”
Wait! Would it be so bad to be a Pretender?
Maybe I’m not the Julia Child of gardening. Maybe I’m the Chrissie Hynde of gardening.
When I was in college, I wore the grooves out of a Pretenders II album; it’s a long story for another day, but the following Chrissie Hynde lyrics are just right for this year’s pepper fiasco:
“We are all of us in the gutter,
Some of us are looking at the stars.
Look ‘round the room,
Life is unkind,
We fall but we keep gettin’ up,
over and over and over and over and over…”
Talk to me darling, with a message of peppers…