A Mouthful of Thorny, Thistle Leaves!

by Virginia Doan on November 4, 2012



Thistle Leaves

*This is a guest post by my good friend, Virginia Doan.

Fall arrived weeks ago. The first frost came and went. Most trees have already lost their leaves and the surrounding landscape, although dotted with evergreens, looks pretty gray and bleak. I gazed at my sad looking garden and reminisced about the summer squash, lettuce and corn I had attempted to grow during the summer.

Over the past ten years of garden dabbling, I have elevated myself to the position of “bad gardener” from the position of “worst gardener.” Hopefully, next summer I’ll have a better crop with the aid of the many new gardening apps available from such sources as landscaperscompanion.com and motherearthnews.com. Perhaps one day, I will be promoted to “mediocre gardener.”

I have been saving seeds from the vegetable garden and flowerbeds for next planting season. While packing away my seeds, I realized that I had done it again. In my haste, I had mixed some wildflower (aka, weed) and lettuce seeds together — all the seeds looked similar in the dusk.

Last summer, while eating homegrown corn, my husband commented that our batch of corn tasted different somehow. One quick look at the steaming cobs of fresh corn revealed that I inadvertently had planted feed and sweet corn seeds together. The feed corn did not really taste that bad, just a bit tough and plain, but it certainly was not as tasty as the sweet corn. Learning to differentiate plants (and their seeds) is a great skill.

I also learned that most of the time, performing two tasks at the same time is not a good idea. Once when I was in a hurry to water the vegetables, my eyes focused on the watering hose while my hands plucked some baby leaves in the lettuce patch to pop into my mouth. Ick! Instead of tasting the sweet, young, yummy lettuce leaves, I got a mouthful of bitter, nasty, thorny, thistle leaves.

Working in the garden has taught me patience and to pay attention to the fine details of the many similar plants and how they grow. My haphazard garden also has given me the great joy and pleasure of eating my own homegrown food. But most of all, I have come to appreciate the hard work farmers put in to produce the fine products so readily available in the market.

Virginia Doan

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