By Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter
Photos by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Chris Cook, left, directs Amy Christopher, center, and Irene Fandel, right in putting down and watering the first layer of a lasagna bed during a Central Peninsula Garden Club workshop May 28 in Kenai.
I’ve always regarded gardening a little like the ancient Greeks did the weather. It’s a magical occurrence, governed by mysterious forces beyond my ability to understand or control. It may involve large men in short togas who can make matters very good or very bad for you, depending on their short-tempered, capricious whims. All we can do is hope for the best while attempting to follow the enigmatic invocations of the prophets, such as, “prune after bloom,” “partial shade,” “well-draining” and something to do with planting when birch leaves are as big as squirrel ears.
OK, but plant what — anything, or just more birch trees? And what kind of squirrels are we talking about, here? Arctic ground squirrels, with their tiny, folded-back nibs of cartilage that would never keep a pair of sunglasses in place? Or the bushy-tailed red squirrels of Southeast that look like they’ve got sonar arrays sprouting from their heads?
For that matter, does the pruning have anything to do with the ears? Like sacrificing a goat to Zeus to end a drought? (Editor’s note: No squirrels were harmed in the making of this column.)
So when Chris Cook, of the Central Peninsula Gardening Club, asked if I wanted a lasagna bed garden at my house, I told her I probably wasn’t the best candidate. The only circumstance in which I could envision my thumb being green is if I whacked it with a hammer — probably in an effort to construct some sort of trellis or hoop house or composting apparatus — to the point where gangrene set in.
In my brain’s filing system, “gardening,” as a concept, is stuffed in a box with “horticulture,” “hydroponics” and “genetically modified food.” It’s shoved in the dank, cobwebby “Things I don’t really understand” corner, along with bins labeled “advanced physics,” “the poetry of William Butler Yeats,” “why people care about the British monarchy,” “the appeal of Capri pants,” “how to cook an artichoke” and “toilets flushing the opposite direction below the equator.” Continue reading