Gardening with Bika: Thyme Hates You

17 Jun

I’ve never felt so impatient as I have since I started a “garden” this spring. It’s not really much of a garden, hence the quotes, but it is what it is. Some green things grow there, and once in a while something dies. It’s going better than it was a couple months ago, when it was a lot more of “something dies” and a lot less of “green things growing.”

I sprouted a bunch of seeds in my living room, some pansies, sunflowers, thyme, jalapenos, basil and stevia. (Goddam stevia never even attempted to grow, even though it was loved and cared for… bastards! I threw the dead little seed podlets into the swamp out of spite.)

Out of some twelve billion microscopic thyme seeds, four survived to become plants that aren’t so weenie they drown in the rain like lobotomized turkeys. I bought those four shoots an older brother at Lowe’s a few weeks ago to show them what a proper thyme should grow into and perhaps shame them into a growth spurt. They promptly attempted to murder their new pot-neighbor and smirked as I babied the wilted thyme-sticks that were once a great glorious bush. The lesson here? Don’t threaten thyme. It fucking hates you.

The basil is my favorite. It’s the least temperamental of all my edibles and I want to eat it all up, but it’s still just a baby. Last week I couldn’t help myself and went out in the dark of night to pick off the biggest leaves. My neighbor saw me and probably thinks I’m some kind of nutty witch, creeping around in the dark picking weeds by flashlight, but I don’t care. My pasta was so much better with it. I give the basil extra water sometimes just to spite the jalapenos, which are wholly ungrateful for the water I have so generously bestowed upon them. “How do you like that, you stupid dry-ass peppers? Why can’t you be more like basil,” I say, hosing down the row adjacent. “I’ll be back tomorrow with the watering can. Until then I want you to think about what you’ve done.”

I hear talking to plants is good for them.

Anyway, back to impatience. There’s something to be said for grocery stores. They have what you want, and you can get it right this second. (Instant gratification is my middle name. My parents are weird.) The stupid-high price tag on fresh basil at the supermarket makes so much more sense after having taken that $2.29 packet of seeds and babied them for weeks and months; if my jalapenos ever forgive me, I’ll be in peppers up to my eyeballs before the frost, but the journey–getting the damn plants to cooperate and survive to a fruitful adulthood–takes a concerted fucking effort. I understand now.

Gardens rock, except when they’re yours… so convince your neighbor to grow one you can steal from. Much easier.

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4 Responses to “Gardening with Bika: Thyme Hates You”

  1. Mom June 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    I can’t believe you killed the thyme – it was like great green afro when we left. And talking to plants only works when you’re nice – they recognize swears and can feel sarcasm, and will just off themselves rather than give you the satisfaction of using them even for a pitiful garnish on your birdy plates. Dogs, on the other hand, are clueless…..you can tell them you’re going to take them out on I-205 at rush hour and release them in the median for chewing your lace leaf maple to a stump and then sleeping in your cedar planter box on the deck, and they’ll come and try to sniff your butt. Wanna trade?

    • Bika June 17, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

      I didn’t kill it, the other thymes attempted to! It’s still alive, it’s just got roughly 65% of its former glory.

      And you may keep your dogs. >_> They and the boys are why you can’t have nice things.

  2. Anna June 18, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    It has been my experience with Thyme that it will be very persnickety the first year (just make sure you don’t let it dry out, that’s always a bad idea). Next year, however, the wee thymes will go WHEEEEEE! and be huge. Year after they will try to take over your garden. I managed to keep a thyme plant alive in a pot last year, and this year it keeps trying to invade the marjoram.

    As for the basil, basil actually likes abuse, so feel free to pick the big leaves on a regular basis, the plant will thrive more. Don’t let them go to seed either (pick off the little flower heads as soon as you see them) as once they seed, they die. At the end of the season, let the whole lot go to seed and dry out… and then pull up the plant and smash it into the ground and rattle it around etc. Free basil seeds! (you might save some in a baggie) I did that last year with my basil, and now have approximately 40 basil volunteers around my herb garden. 😀 (can do the same with dill)

    • Bika June 18, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

      I didn’t know thyme was a perennial! Just show how much I know about my own garden. x) I guess whoever owns the pots next year will have a pleasant surprise, unless they’re not the growing type. I knew basil going to seed was bad, but now I know how to stall that process. Which is great, because I bought a big bag of pine nuts and a wedge of romano cheese so I could make pesto to last all summer and I’m super-excited about it.

      I didn’t know I liked dill until this year, and I’m sad I didn’t plant any 😦

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