Tag Archives: garden

Evil broccoli

I planted some broccoli this year, and everything started out fine enough. First came the leaves, then the stalks, after a few weeks I had these dime-sized broccoli heads starting to peak out from the center. But then one night, they all just jumped up, the heads sprouted on these thin little stalks and turned into flowers. It was over. The broccoli skipped the broccoli part of being broccoli and went straight to being an annoying weed.


Broccoli flowers aren’t even nice to look at, the whole plant looks like it’s trying to claw its way out of the earth. I don’t know what happened, because I did broccoli last year and it turned out great. The dime-sized head just continued to get bigger, until it was the size of a regular broccoli, the kind that you see in the supermarket.

I looked up some stuff on the Internet, but there weren’t any definitive answers, mostly just guesses about what causes broccoli to “bolt,” that’s the term, I found it out online, broccoli eventually bolts and turns into a flower and it’s inedible.

But amidst all of the rumors and conjecture I found a suggestion. It told me to pick off the tops, the flowers, all of it, just leave the stalks and the leaves, and maybe some new heads would sprout from the sides.

And yeah, that did happen. But they were all weird looking, all of them much smaller than the original dime-sized florets. These were no bigger than an M&M, and not even a regular M&M, I’m talking a mini M&M, remember the ones that came in a tube? They looked more like warts than vegetables, and whereas pre-bolted broccoli only had one head per plant, these things were popping up four, five to a stalk, it was like a gross broccoli pox.

Worse, these guys started doing the same bolting that their older brothers and sisters had pulled off two weeks before. I found myself this week, looking at my once proud-looking raised bed vegetable garden. Now, I stare at these plants, they don’t remind me of anything like broccoli at all. It’s more like a whitish pale-green virus, jutting awkwardly, almost sinisterly from the earth, taunting me, daring me to try meddling any further.

I’ve got to do something. These aberrations can’t be allowed to grow any further, to suck any more of the nutrients that I laced the soil with at the beginning of the season. They’re no more than weeds now, just very carefully spaced apart weeds. But what do I do? I have to go out and uproot them all? Are they going to take big chunks of the dirt with them?

And then what? Usually with weeds I just throw them to the side, but I have this weird fear that wherever I throw them, they’re just going to make new roots, they’ll be fine, they’ll start multiplying, becoming a weird perennial mutant broccoli, choking off the grass, eventually making its way over to my tomatoes.

My strawberries died immediately, by the way. I planted them, they grew like six inches outward, and then they started rotting from the inside out. It’s crazy to think that the broccoli’s somehow responsible, right? I mean, that’s impossible, tell me it’s not possible.

You’ve got to, like, turn your backyard into a garden, man

I started hanging my clothes out to dry, you know, in the sunlight, to save energy, to go a little easier on Mother Earth. But I forgot that my backyard sprinkler was set on an automatic timer, and so, without really connecting the dots at first, I couldn’t figure out why my clothes wouldn’t dry, even after spending like three or four hours under direct sunlight.


Eventually I had to be somewhere, and I really needed those pants, so I just threw everything in the dryer. And just when I heard that ding go off telling me that the spin-cycle was just about done, I noticed it, the sprinkler popped up out of the ground, I was wasting energy, and water, and sunlight. Can you even waste sunlight? I guess, right, because if my shirts weren’t out there colleting all of those photons, the grass would have used them, right? The grass, my organic heirloom tomatoes. Are they a little hungrier today? I know that sunlight is supposed to be an infinite resource, right, but are there enough direct rays to simultaneously dry my clothes and feed my backyard?

And the water, I’m positive that water is a finite resource, and so I feel even worse, wasting it all on washing my clothes, or, I guess that’s not a waste, because I need to do laundry. But re-wetting them outside with the sprinkler, not only am I stealing sunlight from the plants, but I’m also robbing them of water. Although, I guess in the whole circle of life ecosystem, some of that water probably dripped down from the clothesline to the ground.

But then even after I start to wrap my head around all of the waste, telling myself, don’t worry, it was an accident, I’m still green, I went online, I went to this green blog that I always visit, and there was a picture of this guy in Texas who uprooted his whole lawn and replaced it with a giant vegetable garden. There was a whole gardener’s manifesto, all about how using water and energy on grass is a mega-waste of the earth’s resources.

And I looked out at my own lawn and I thought, that guy’s absolutely right. Nobody eats that grass. Except for my dog, sometimes, not always, but just every once in a while we’ll go outside and he’ll start eating grass, like a goat, grass and fallen leaves. I try yelling at him to stop, but there’s no use, I’m not getting through to him. I looked it up online, “my dog is eating grass,” and all of these pet web sites told me that dogs eat grass to induce vomiting, that it’s a sign of an upset stomach.

Only, my dog didn’t vomit. I’ve noticed that when he’s about to puke, he starts licking the floor, like compulsively, and then sure enough, twenty or thirty of forty licks later, puke. And then he starts eating it, which, yes, I’m sorry, that’s totally gross. But think of everything that we can learn from the dogs, one with nature. They don’t let a scrap of food go to waste, grass, lick, even vomit, they’re all precious resources in the eyes of man’s best friend.

But like I said, he didn’t throw up the grass. I wondered if I’d accidentally stumbled upon some sort of mutant grass, like maybe this stuff is somehow edible. So I harvested about a bowl’s worth and sautéed it with some organic extra virgin olive oil and some organic shallots and garlic that I got, not at a farmer’s market, unfortunately, but it was at a clearly labeled “organic” section at the supermarket, which is fine, in a pinch I guess, as long as my money is going toward sustainable organic farming, that’s cool.

But yeah, the grass was disgusting. It made the whole house smell like the inside of a lawnmower repair shop, like, imagine the guys at the shop heated up a really heavily garlicky lunch in the microwave, that’s what the house smelled like. And when I ate a couple of bites, well, whatever vomiting inducing powers the grass didn’t have on the dog, they definitely worked on me. And so I cleaned myself up, I made sure to save whatever my body couldn’t digest for my dog, because, yeah, it’s gross, again, I apologize for being so graphic, but he ate it, and so it didn’t go to waste, it was good, for him, my dog’ll eat anything.

And after that I committed to tearing up the backyard, because fuck that, lawns, all of that water and sunlight and more water dripping from my sprinkler-soaked clothes drying and re-drying on the clothesline, what does it all mean? Why am I spending all of these precious, precious natural resources on a bunch of inedible blades of grass? No, I tore that whole backyard up.

And then, I don’t know, it’s really hard to keep the weeds away, you know, it’s like a whole blank canvas, that empty yard, all of that overturned grass. It’s like it just kept growing, even though I pulled it all out, it’s like the roots just re-rooted themselves, and also, all of these other weeds, big clumps of crab grass, dandelions. I’ve seen people eat dandelion greens, but I don’t know man, that’s just way too bitter for my palate. But my clothes are definitely dryer. I just set the sprinklers to only go off in the middle of the night. That way it won’t interfere with the drying. The only thing is, you know, if it starts raining in the middle of the night, I won’t be awake to shut off the sprinkler. And so yeah, that’s a huge waste of resources. But I’m doing my best, right? I can only hope that the whole ecosystem can take care of the rest. Because I’m just one dude, just trying my best, the best I can to make a difference, just me and my giant backyard garden and my clothesline full of t-shirts and underwear.