January 31st I spent about $10 on morning glory seeds, I had started to grow them once before, sprouted a ton of them (like 40-100) and then they all died… I want to vine up our thin ‘Ohi’a trees with a little bit of color. It took me a long time observing the garden and neighborhood to decide if I think the flowers will become invasive in this climate, I doubt it due to the overgrown ginger and groundcover types already here… also I wanted to think about if they are harmonious with the landscape, I think they are, also I wanted to think about if they make a part of my ideal life, I also think they are.
Some people may find morning glories old fashioned or ramshackle, but I like that, very much. I’ve grown white before, and LOVED them, but since we have slugs (huge brain eating parasite carrying ones) here, I don’t imagine frolicking under the moonlight where white really looks amazing, so no moon garden plans right now.
If you want to join me morning glories can be indoor kitchen plants and are a great beginner plant because they are very strong to start.
Here are what the seeds look like, they are hard, dark black, shiny, pointy, they feel strong.
I soaked the seeds in regular water (our home filtered rainwater) I used to use chamomile tea, but didn’t have any on hand.
After a day indoors the seeds had opened (I started 11) with a tiny light yellow root poking through the pointed end.
I moved them to the trey that goes under the pots we got for strawberries.
I’m hoping that I can get the morning glories to vine up our trees, including the dead ones that I leave because dead trees are supposed to be very good for garden microbe and animal diversity.
Sometimes I think I want to be a farmer and I’m in a location where a few special things can grow, but I don’t have any background in gardening or farming and thus growing a few simple plants seems like the next step towards either taking it to the next level or just enjoying the garden again.
Morning glories remind me of Marcus Aurelius since he wrote about the struggle to get out of bed in his book Meditations, and especially of the quote which is not verified to be him…
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive-to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.– Marcus Aurelius (Probably not verbatim though… but Meditations did say a lot like that)
THE NEXT DAY
I was preparing a kind of flat area around a fern to start having strawberries once the cuttings I recently got (Seascape) are ready to move out of the green house, when my daughter told me she may have a slug on her foot.
She did, it was super gross, she moved it off her foot onto her hand and it was actually two slugs, mating by both putting their penises into the other’s vaginas… slugs are like that… so it was very gross.
But also stressful, because they carry a lethal parasite, rat lung (Angiostrongylus cantonensis)… which only got 1 person in 2020, but I don’t want that one person to be my daughter… so we put three slugs into the slug jar which has salt (squishing them would just cause the parasite to leave their body and find a new host…).
Anyways… that’s something we have to deal with in our district, the worst in the country as far as high infected slug population.
Why weed out brain eating slugs to garden? Because I want to play the ocarina, and of course I don’t want to play the ocarina inside, I want to play outdoors in a beautiful forest garden.
I’ve always wanted to play specifically on a log chair thing in the woods, now I live in the forest, but still want a log chair and still want to make the garden the kind of place that would resonate with the music.
The garden is pretty much weeds with some good “bones”, since the lot is on the edge of the forest preserve it comes with some trees, high ferns and moss, but also dead ferns, over grown ginger and parasite hosting ridiculously large slugs of many types.
I sometimes prefer a break from gardening, or feel like I have to take one because I’m pregnant and it’s not good to be too involved in soils at times like during miscarriage risk – though sometimes and for some people it would be fine. But now that I’ve been back gardening it’s been great.
One thing that kept me not gardening is that I take care of my two kids mostly alone, so that I have to let go of the guilt of letting the younger one watch math videos “all alone” while I garden and I do need to check in with the older child about slug safety, pretty much on an ongoing basis. Then the slug anxiety that I have pretty much got over much to my surprise.
If we didn’t have slugs I would want to grow all our own produce, which financially we don’t need to do. But since we do have a ton of slugs I don’t know if I will eat our produce more than a token amount or not, because I don’t know if I will get the slug population down, deal with the slugs crawling over my stuff at night (which they do) and still be able to eat it after washing it in the day (harder after actually seeing them on it), or perhaps I will get rid of the slugs mostly and still not really eat my own produce, but no matter what I do enjoy the process of gardening and I don’t want to stop that.
In a lot of building games houses don’t “evolve” until they are beautiful and gardens are the usual way of making the houses beautiful, I would put a garden in our house in a game, so why not in real life?
Gardening does a lot for me, I socialize with the plants, weird or not I enjoy it, the book Square Foot Garden got me started, it said ask the plants if they are thirsty and listen and it has become fun, even though I still can’t tell if yellow leaves are too much or not enough water… gardening is a bit of activity during times I’m on an exercise break, gardening is a fun way to get some sun which in small amounts is really healthy.
Gardening gets me out of the house and helps give me small things to look forward to, something sprouting or blooming or fruiting or just staying alive is usually exciting.
Gardening is fun with or without a good produce yield and I like to imagine that getting more skilled in it will let me start a farm someday, maybe on another property, or maybe indoors in a vertical aeroponic kind of set up… I like hydroponic a lot, but my dad kind of took over that set up and I like to do my own thing more than working with two chefs in the kitchen…
One thing I don’t love about gardening is that everyone in my family loves and hates different plants, so one person’s win isn’t a win win. My sister likes lantana, I find it very over used and uninspiring, I love moss, my dad prefers grass to moss, unfortunately we don’t have similar tastes, one person’s favorite is someone else’s least favorite seemingly without exception… if my sister gardened alone it would be very European, if I did it would be more Japanese and my father would have orchids. But right now I’m not even thinking about the landscaping or overall garden just a tiny pocket of it to put the strawberries I just started into.
So as of now I’m gardening more as a therapy, more as a way to go forest bathing and less as a way to become self sufficient, though that always seems like a spiritually cool thing to do I don’t think its logistically or economically the best thing. Because of climate type, I live in a pretty cold place that does get nicely warm, but not hot. So, many things won’t thrive and I don’t think I want to go without them just to reach a point of being self sustaining. Papaya will probably never thrive, but berries seem like they will. But do I want to eat slug berries? I’m not sure. It’s quite rambling, as usual right? But I do kind of need to know internally, why am I putting my kids at risk to take them into the garden, why am I spending my small amount of free energy there, why am I spending my husband’s money there? For what? For joy? Or for relaxation? So the kids will understand we eat from the Earth beyond the economic system? Or to heal my own soul? To fill a silly aspiration to taste the seascape strawberry I was growing before I left on vacation and the plant died? To connect to my ancestors? To connect to nature, something larger than myself and all life? To have something to do that I can succeed at for pride? I’m not 100% sure yet, it’s a journey I can feel myself drawn to without a complete explanation about why I do it.
More Reading: Scientific Study of Slugs and Rat Lung Parasite: “Control Measures for Slug and Snail Hosts of Angiostrongylus cantonensis, with Special Reference to the Semi-slug Parmarion martensi” by Robert G Hollingsworth, PhD, Kathleen Howe, BA, and Susan I Jarvi, PhD
Stop Reading if You Don’t Want to See a Slug
A Five Minute Video about the Rat Lung Parasite and Gardening Interventions: