Specimen Selection

Now here’s a favorite topic!  When contemplating a garden, one must decide what to plant, or more specifically, what they want to harvest.

Hmmm…   Now, this all depends on our tastes, doesn’t it?  Some like it fruity, some like it tart.  Some like it sweet and some like it hot.  What it is, doesn’t matter, so long as you know what it is.  Otherwise, you’ll be growing all kinds of things only to give them away, because they don’t suit your tastes (a lot of wasted effort when you consider all the bend over back aches and sweat drenched brows that went into that bounty!).

But that’s another subject.  For now, we’re discussing the art of choosing.

Keep in mind when selecting these specimens, they must fulfill your needs.  Whether you’re seeking a proper balance for your daily diet, therapeutic benefits of natural plant essences, or the simple pleasure of beauty to fill your senses, you must decide what’s right for you.  This year, this season, a choice needs to be made.

I, myself, prefer a bit of variety, so I choose to keep a mix of company.  For my “sister” selection, I cultivate fun-loving types which appeal to my playful side, serious types which appeal to my contemplative side, a calmer breed to keep me balanced and of course let’s not forget those perennial favorites – the ones who know me inside and out and still come back for more – God bless ‘em!

But whatever blend of companionship you prefer, be sure to nourish the ties that bind.  Like a tomato plant heavy in bloom, a life full of friends can topple if not sufficiently secured.  Keep them close, but not to the point where the binds begin to cut, creating a point of stress in the relationship.  Too loose, and no one feels truly secure.

As to “male” specimens, many of the same rules apply (although wouldn’t it be nice to combine all of our wants into one big, robust plant that served all of our needs?).  But that’s not normal.   No.  It wouldn’t be right.  It would be like messing with Mother Nature’s natural order, whereby you could end up with a hybrid of sorts!  Remember:  those don’t reproduce well.

Remember the carrots?  Sweet and firm, they dive deep into the soil, but it’s only for the season.  Commercially marketed carrots are mostly hybrids and don’t produce seeds you can take to the bank – the seed bank.   Buyer beware.

Take corn.  Nice, tall plant, firm body fruit with silky smooth strands of hair.  Upon first glance, you might say to yourself, “Hey, this one’s a keeper.”  Could be.  But while it is sweet, this one’s sensitive to change, capable of being blown over by the mildest of breezes.   Needy, too, it’s a very heavy feeder.  But this might be okay with you.  It produces well, provides plenty of kernels, ensuring multiple seasons of good healthy crops.  So long as you know what you’re getting into right up front, is all I’m saying.

Pumpkins sound harmless enough, but they can be a downright nuisance, much like their family members, the melons and cucumbers.  They spread their vines in every direction, and can literally take over the landscape.  Try as you may to stop them – even remove them - they continue to return.  It’s a plant that doesn’t allow for much else to thrive and should be well-controlled for best results.

So when it comes time for selection, take your time, take recommendations from others, be mindful as to what grows well and where.  Pay special attention to which varieties require extra work on your part, which are susceptible to disease and bugs, and remember:  pay special attention to those who want to dominate the garden!

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