Playing in the dirt.

My First Plant

Gayla at You Grow Girl has started a writing club for gardeners called The Grow Write Guild, and the first writing prompt was posted on the 19th, “My First Plant.”

That’s easy, right?  I mean, I clearly remember my first plant was the tiny start of a Christmas cactus my friend gave me from her sprawling bedroom decor when I was about fourteen, that my obnoxious rabbit ended up eating one day while I was at school and she was occupying a box in my bedroom because she’d kindled on the worst night possible and lost half the litter to freezing temperatures before I got there to feed her breakfast.  I stuffed the two surviving kits into my coat pockets with handsful of straw, and hurried back into the house to put them in a shoebox beside a heater vent, to warm the poor wee things back up.  Then she’d refused them, so I had to hold her down to let them nurse for the three days it took for her to accept that they really were her own kits, and it was still unseasonably cold, so that was just easier to do in the house.  She ate a geranium that day, too, and I’m certain that she dug up the pricklier cactus out of sheer spite that she couldn’t eat that as well.

Except that no, that came after the year when I was about eleven, and we had a plot at the community garden, and I had, among a few other things in my small section, the most adorable and perfectly round jack o-lantern pumpkin you can imagine, and someone stole it right out of my patch the day before I went to pick it.  I was crushed.

But that’s not it, either.  No, that was the one when I was about seven, and we had an acre and a half under the plow, and each of us kids had our own little strung-off section, and I planted radishes and watermelon in mine.  I don’t really remember the radishes, but that watermelon plant grew one beautiful melon.  It was dark green, and it seemed enormous, so much so that I could barely get my arms around it when It Was Time.  I was so proud carrying it all the way back to the house myself (which amounted to little more than across the driveway), and I remember it looked so dark inside after being out in the sun.  We carved it up and ate it for dessert that night.  I don’t remember a thing of how it tasted, but I remember the ungainly size of it, and the heavy potential of it, as I leaned way back to counterbalance it on the short trek from field to fridge.

That one was definitely my first plant.


Comments on: "My First Plant" (22)

  1. These are great stories. I can so feel your pain about that cactus and that pumpkin – I am going to plant my first grown-up garden this year, and I am already anticipating the tears I will shed when the raccoons dig up my tomato plants. I am really enjoying everyone’s Grow Write Guild posts. Here’s my response to Prompt #1:

  2. Great memory! I can really picture a tiny child struggling with a watermelon, so cute!

    • It probably was a very cute picture, and it amuses me greatly that it was probably only an “ice box” sized watermelon — everything is scaled differently to a child!

  3. Oh my goodness! I love this post! You made me laugh with delight and joy. Thank you.

  4. Ahaha! Wonderful read. That sounds like my trip down memory lane to remember my first plant. Jade plant. No, sunflower. No, spiky thing my mom might remember. I grew my first watermelon two years ago, and it was such a joy to find the only melon it produced.

    • Thanks! This will be the first year since that one long ago that I’ll be growing watermelon. I’m a little nervous that I won’t have the success I had at seven! 🙂

  5. I can’t imagine having enough space to grow a watermelon! What a wonderful memory of gardening as a child.

    • We were on about five acres that year, so we had plenty of room to experiment. That was the year that my parents planted tomatoes with the idea of canning them, so we had probably ten rows of various kinds across one end of the acre-sized plot. Then they just never got around to canning, and what we didn’t manage to eat was left in the field. The next year, we had half an acre of tomatoes, and would likely have had more if the plot hadn’t taken a sharp upward slope in the middle.

      I eventually hope to own at least that much dirt for myself, but for now, the inlaws kindly permit me to plant whatever I want on the unused part of their acre.

  6. Wow, you have very early experiences with planting and gardening! I could have too, if I’d been more of a mamma’s girl than daddy’s girl (mom loved gardening, dad couldn’t be bothered). That must have been some satisfaction, growing a watermelon and then having it for dessert. The closest I’ve come to that is growing some herbs that I’ve used in omelettes and such. 🙂 But this year will be different! This year I hope to have tomatoes and peppers! And delicious raspberries!

  7. The second year of our garden, we had a rabbit living in the oregano. Luckily, he didn’t eat anything from the garden, rather, he ate the dandelions in the grass! I wish he moved with me to my new house!

  8. Stephenie said:

    I love how we all have that “first plant” that we remember, but then more reveal themselves to us as we write. 🙂 Great stories.

  9. What a lovely set of stories! Thank you for sharing 🙂 I bet that watermelon tasted delicious!

  10. Your progressive story in search of the true first plant was entertaining. But I have to admit that I liked your “obnoxious rabbit” story just as much.

  11. That’s terrible that someone stole your pumpkin! The first time I grew sunflowers, they got huge, and just as the flowers started to open, someone hacked them all off. I was crushed too! Jerks. 😦 Thought I’d share my post from the Grow Write Guild exercise… My First Plant

    • I’m so sorry about your sunflowers! I will never understand what motivates some people to destroy what others have lovingly built. I’ll pop over and read your entry this evening.

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