Thursday, July 5, 2012

No Green Thumb

I love to cook. If you know me at all, you know that. I love the flavor of fresh herbs but hate to buy a wad of cilantro or parsley, use one-fourth of it, and then after a few weeks toss the remainder in the garbage. And I don’t eat tomatoes often, but I do love a BLT made with a good, homegrown tomato. So when we moved to a house with full sun in the teeny-tiny back yard I decided to grow container gardens of tomatoes and herbs. Fast-forward to stunted, little, wormy tomatoes and a whole flock of something nasty eating all the basil. My reaction when I found all those bugs hunkered down and chewing? I yanked the basil out by the roots and did a stomp dance on the few bugs that didn’t fly away. Crushed basil with bug guts, anyone?

I’m not a fan of God’s littlest creepy-crawlers. My brothers were well aware of this fear and routinely tossed garter snakes in my direction. I responded by running, screaming and crying to Mom, which was their goal. Torture was having to pick potato bugs from the potato plants in Mom’s big garden. I trembled and gagged and cried, and still had to pick them. Yes, an abused childhood for sure.

Anyhoo, after the basil bugs (picture me shuddering), I gave up completely on tomatoes and brought my herb gardening venture inside. I had some success for a couple of years, but this past winter nothing would grow in my bright, sun-filled morning room. So—a return to the outdoors.

The basil and sage I planted from seed are finally sprouting, but the rosemary sent up one shoot which quickly shriveled in the cruel South Carolina heat. The cilantro, parsley and others are no-shows. I gave up and bought full, beautiful pots of oregano, marjoram and thyme from the farmer’s market—and after two days on the patio they were laid out like the death scene in Romeo and Juliet.

Recently, MSNBC aired a story about a man in India who had a 5-inch worm swimming around in his eyeball. (Want to see it? Seriously, you do? Here’s the link. Don’t eat first.)

The man told doctors he must have gotten the worm while gardening.

I’m thinking dried herbs are good enough.