Thursday, April 23, 2009

They should just call it manure.

Let's say you're an intrepid first-time gardener and on a whim you decide to plant some squash seeds in a little pot to see what would happen. As squash seeds often do, they sprouted and grew and got too big for the pot so you replant them in a much bigger pot, one that has space down at the bottom that you can fill with water so that the roots have a constant supply. This particular feature wasn't as much of selling point for you as the nice shade of green. You really don't know what you're doing and are easily wooed by pretty things. But you water your squash plant and say nice things to it and you constantly move it around your wee balcony to get the maximum amount of sunlight on it and every day you check the water level to make sure it's not dying of thirst and you notice that the water level is not going down. You're squash is refusing to drink! But you know that a squash is a squash and squash, by their vary nature, are big time water drinkers. They don't worry about water retention or having to pee all the time. So you start inspecting. Everything looks normal. But you notice a distinct smell. A smell from your youth growing up in a dairy community. That is to say, the smell of cow poo. And you remember that smell from when you bought your potting soil and pretty green pot but at the time you thought that it just meant that it was full of lovely nutrients that would help your squash grow nice and plump. But now you're wondering if it really was potting soil you planted your first squash plant in. So you check the bag and realize that it is not, in fact, potting soil, but rather garden soil. As in soil you put on top of the existing dirt in your garden. Which, you realize, is just a pleasant way of saying manure.

So, if you were this gardener, what would you do? Would you:

a.) Leave the plant where it is and call it a science experiment to see how well squash grows in manure.
b.) Replant it in actual soil, even though the plant is getting really large and you're afraid that it won't handle the move very well.
c.) Chuck the whole thing and buy squash at the market. Who were you kidding, anyways?
d.) Hope that one of your super smart friends is a squash whisperer and will know what to do and will comment on your blog with reassuring words and helpful advice.

9 comments:

Mindie said...

i am not an expert at all but i would transfer it. we have some potting soil that you can use if you would like. we also have some calcium fertilizer. apparently our tomatoes need calcium. our plants look great but no tomatoes yet. maybe i am not the best person to comment here.

Chris said...

My vote would be "b", however it might be more fun to try "a".

Rach said...

Yeah, I'd repot it. Then your plant won't smell like cow poo, too. I'd really like to see a picture of the green pot.

Stephanie said...

Manure is high in nitrogen. That's my only knowledge in this department. Does squash like nitrogen? If it does, just keep it in. The squash won't taste like poo - just like mushrooms don't taste like the poo they were grown in. Unless you think that mushrooms taste like poo - then I don't think we can be friends anymore.

The Katzbox said...

Are you serious!?! You hope and pray for option D because let's face it, a squash whisperer would have to be the bestest/funniest thing on the planet, or at least in the garden...too bad I'm not a squash whisperer...I have been known to talk to my plants however...and I have asked permission of the manzanita before I chop any part of it, as well as apologized to plants that I have lopped off pieces of because you know, and I am deadly serious here-it is claimed that the plants make a wee tee tiny screaming sound when we pluck them apart...I'm just repeating what I saw on TV...that's all...and that was all I needed to see/hear to get me to ask permission and apologize when I started lopping/pruning planets...

Yeesh, maybe I am a squash whisperer...oh no...I am now, officially, "the weird lady down the street"...well, play it some pretty Mozart music (for real-it grows better plants) and speak nicely to it and it will be fine...I, on the other hand, have to hit the speed dial button for my therapist.

ennbee said...

oh, i'm an option A girl all the way! option A is how all great things get discovered/invented!

don't touch that squash, rachel!

you could be the next most famous squash person in the world!

Jeanette said...

Basically garden soil gets compacted really hard and the water does not get through to the roots properly. Potting mix is less compact and water penetrates more easily, which is better for small planters or pots on balconies.

Both garden soil and potting mix get deprived of nutrients as the plants use them so you need to use fertilizers periodically.

Don't worry about being a beginner at gardening. You have some hits and some disasters but most plants are pretty tough, especially squash.

Good Luck - I wish you many squash! Last year we were drowning in zucchini, crockneck, spaghetti and butternut squash!

colleeeen said...

it is not so easy to kill squash. if you are inclined to, re-pot that baby. it's only a few weeks old, right? just treat the roots gently and don't snap the main stem - try to get it between your fingers, down at the "webbed" junction between your index and middle fingers. I have ruined many transplants by snapping the main stem.

Erin said...

I also have a pot that smells like poo. It's a green pepper plant. I thought about replanting it but decided against it. Now I have a really pretty pepper plant with no peppers...maybe it's the poo?