Steve and I experienced extreme plant bitterness before even walking in the door of the Pleasant Valley Garden Center.
“Look at that pepper plant,” I said, pointing at a seedling with two full-sized banana peppers hanging off it. “That thing’s producing in a tiny pot!”
Squash seedlings already flowering. Basil that looked fuller than the plant (bought from this same shop, I might add) I bought earlier in the season. These seedlings, crowded into tiny pots and for sale two-for-one, were sheerly ridiculous compared to our garden. Sure, we had foliage and size, but we didn’t have nearly the production that we now knew we should have already had in our little plot.
“The information I found said the black walnut’s juglone also stunts plant growth,” Steve said. “It’s clearly been affecting everything all along.”
I considered growling, but decided to save my energy.
Inside, I wandered toward the seeds.
“Shouldn’t we go talk to those people at the counter?” Steve asked. “Or do you just want to wander around aimlessly?”
“I’m mad,” I said. “I want to wander around aimlessly for a bit.”
Within moments, we’d run into one of Steve’s professors and her husband. They asked us how we were and, as if I couldn’t help but vomit, I told them the whole story. This may have been more information than they wanted to know, particularly the part about how angry I was at my landlord.
“I’m going to call him,” I said.
Steve turned grey. “Genie…”
“I’ll be NICE,” I said.
He held up his hands as if to rid himself of responsibility for my temper. But we’re talking about dying tomatoes. I cannot just let this go.
The professor’s husband suggested that we buy some sort of translucent-yet-waterproof fabric to hang over the garden.
“See?” I crowed. I had made the suggestion that we get some kind of tarp to put over everything, and Steve had put the kibosh on that idea.
“I am not building a tent for the garden,” Steve said. “I’m also not building a greenhouse.”
They headed off to look at plants, we headed back to the counter, in search of someone who might know more than we did about our gardening dilemma.