Over the last few days, I noticed some mysterious plants in a place they weren’t supposed to be. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for plant sovereignty. Someone is going to chime in and shake a finger about the value of growing where you’re planted, etc., but I am still pretty sure that these three squash sprouts’ days were numbered as soon as they got the crazy idea to come up in the middle of a restaurant outdoor seating area. I know for a fact that the yard is regularly manicured by a trained professional named Jose. He is a stickler for details, but not that excited about waiting to see what kind of squash grows on an errant sprout.
With their imminent mowing in mind, I plotted their excavation and returned a few days later. Under the cover of darkness, I dug them up with the ideal tool for the job, that I obviously keep on hand for just such occasions. That’s a lie. I didn’t bring a spade or a any kind of honest shoveling device, I ended up digging these little angels out with an old pair of lineman’s pliers that I keep in the door of my truck…with ‘ahem’ surgical precision.
In the dark, using my pointy instrument to scrape at the ground, I managed to wrestle 3 seedlings out of the ground and into plastic cups. I also moved enough soil to get their roots and stabilize them, then added some water to ease their transfer. Maybe that was their last drink of water, it’s hard to say.
You can see what kind of shape they were in after my handiwork the night before. While they look like they are still alive, it is quite possible that they are a lot more like loose lettuce leaves that you keep in your fridge, that is to say, they might be dead and just not know it yet.
I’m hoping that they will at least live long enough to bloom. We’ll see. The ideal scenario here would be to dig up lots of soil around each of the sprouts and transplant that entire clump of soil (containing all or most of the young roots) to the new location, where the plant can have a better chance at survival. The shock of digging up the plant and then the shock of transplanting it again would also, ideally, happen at the same time, to avoid two shocks to the plant root system by moving it all at once.
That’s not what happened here. Nobody’s perfect here, I get points for even telling this story of plant maiming in the name of good intentions. Maybe this counts as some kind of plant warrior death. Maybe I’m these baby squash plants’ ticket into Valhalla. Who can say? I don’t speak squash.
So I got them home. The next morning, I pulled back the mulch and stuck these battered beauties in the ground.
Mistakes were made. I’ll post an update with more on this trial of life in a few days. I want to close with something cliche but a little wise. Maybe breaking eggs to make omelettes? No, that implies a sure fire tasty end product, which really doesn’t fit here. I’ll be lucky if these grow into anything besides bits of brown squash sprout jerky.
Here we go:
A garden is really your place to experiment and partner with nature in so many ways. There is always another subtle way to tweak how you till this plot, or shift the timing of planting that vegetable, etc. Taking the initiative is the trick and then you keep getting right back in with fresh ideas and the gumption to try again whether the last time worked out how you wanted it to or not.
They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…even if it’s on a squash sprout.