I was going to give you this post tomorrow, but when Kate at Gardening Without Skills put up her little Death Day meme I had to join in today. I may not quite have the black thumb she is looking for, but I do have black under my thumbnail and if you are a vegetable gardener at all you know that Death loves to visit our vegetable gardens as much as we do.
Death has been visiting my sunflowers regularly. I have two kinds. One is from seed that I bought myself - Music Box. I duly planted my seeds six inches apart and two seeds to a hole. It came up thick enough that I had to thin out all of the extras. Though they got nibbled on, none died. I'm sure this is because I have plenty of seed left to reseed. Death knew that killing one seedling would not kill off my Music Box Sunflowers.
The same day I planted my Lemon Queen Sunflowers. These were from The Great Sunflower Project. They sent them in an unpadded envelope. Death of Plants was being lazy that day. He crushed a lot of the seed in transit. There were only 12 seeds that weren't dead on arrival. I was hoping for four plants in the back of my little flower plot in my vegetable garden. Just like the other sunflowers I planted two in a hole. One came up and then was dug up by a squirrel two days later. Another came up but it never grew roots. Then I waited. Nothing more happened.
I despaired and planted the last four seeds in soil blocks inside. I'd pamper the little seeds until they sprouted and then immediately planted them outside. One sunflower showed its green head. The others? Dead.
When I planted this solitary sunflower outside I noticed a stunning arrival. One of the earlier sunflowers was up too. So now I had two in my garden. They grew well for two weeks. They were four inches tall and growing well. Yesterday Death came once again in the form of a bird. It tried to yank the sunflower out, but didn't quite succeed. It left the poor dying plant desiccating in the sun. Only one remains. Will Death take this one too?
Maybe or maybe it will be the broccoli. The same day I seeded those sunflowers in my soil blocks, I was showing you a very ugly photo of my first broccoli plant to die. Death came in the form of a swarm of root maggots. I thought my other two broccoli plants were large enough to live through a few maggots, but apparently not. I've noticed my biggest one (shown above) slowly wither and die. Death was taunting me with this one. It had started to form a head before it started wilting. The head hasn't grown since and the leaves are dying one by one. There are not many grains of sand left in its hourglass.
I have one broccoli left. It looks wonderful and is just starting to form a head. This is just what my last one looked liked when it started its downward spiral. I want at least one head of broccoli this year. Ok I confess, I wanted three, but at this point I'll take one.
If I make some burnt offerings of my overly prolific lemon balm would Death be appeased and move on? Maybe he would like tea and cookies better? I think no matter how good of a gardener you are Death is always waiting at the garden gate.