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May 18th 2010    Tim Candler

    We've had a good year for Spinach.   And the iron curtain that has isolated Strawberry for so long is I think penetrated by garden practices that demonstrate both the uncertainty principle and the pompous theorem.

    Last year I began political maneuvering necessary to have Strawberry removed completely from the Vegetable Garden.   After so many years of  half hearted production I declared the bed exhausted.   Then, with some joy, I was able to offer signs of terminal complaint in the Strawberry plants themselves.   I recall using the expression "verticillum wilt", "yellow pox" and a series of  ruthlessly clinical  devices certain to strike fear into the heart of the listener.  And of course I offered to dig a brand new bed for the poor little Strawberries behind the Laurels where no one could see them.

    There can never be a 'yes' or 'no'.  Instead there is what I will call the double blink of dismay followed by a silent pause so telling in its nature that time comes to a halt, allowing total failure to stare me in the face and giggle a while.   

    In September I euthanized  the Strawberry bed.  Ruthlessly I hid grannies in the compost pile.  Lined up the halfhearted in two long rows where Beets had been, and those Strawberry Babies that smiled at me I put directly into the ground certain they would rapidly wither and decline.  Another year and I would have my way, I told them.   I spoke loudly with an impatient carelessness, and by way of sulk I gave them no feed until March of this year when I offered them a measly dribble of 5-5-5 that came in a compost mix on sale at the hardware store.

    Looking at them now I accept there has been communication between us.   They are thin leaved and rampant.  Fruit has been bountiful.  Yet in some dark corner, when I forage amongst them, I know they have not forgiven me.

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