Note: This is the second post from my March trip south. Here’s the first.
My sister Paula, despite her earthy Taurus Moon, has never done any gardening. My own Moon is also in Taurus, and yet my gardening experience has been mostly channeled into finding others to do most of it for me. (After all, I’m a bossy first child of eight!) This time, I had to be the one who “knew what she was doing.” Oops!
Paula had said to me, on my last trip to visit her and our 95-year-old mom, aka Lady Renee, that I should bring one of my son’s Garden Towers with me next time I came, and show her how to plant it. Maybe that was a dare? Or was she joking? In any case, she sure didn’t remember saying it. I only remembered that incident two days prior to leaving, for the south, called Colin up, and sure enough, despite his intense busyness this spring (15 orders per day right now), he had a Tower ready for me to put sideways in my back seat for the trip down on the morning I left.
When I arrived, and showed Paula what was in the back seat, she blanched. That didn’t deter me. Soon enough, I showed both her and her husband David, who I do think has a hidden green thumb, the website for the Garden Tower (www.gardentowerproject.com), and how it creates its own fertilizer by internally composting kitchen scraps with worms. Soon enough, she was throwing words like “red wrigglers” and “vermicomposting” around with the best of ’em, David had made a list of must-have plants for himself (creole tomatoes, they have to be that kind he said, as the other don’t have any flavor. Remember: creole tomatoes), and the two of them picked out a spot on the corner of the patio, out back, with enough sun, and plenty of good viewing for Mom so she can sit at the table eating her meals inside while watching it grow. (Because of the self-fertilizing system, Garden Tower plants are rumored to grow 33% faster than usual.)
So, today, wonderful Rhonda came to care for Mom and take her out to lunch while Paula and I toodled into beautiful downtown Covington and the Feed store, where David said we’d find top soil, plants, and seeds. Sure enough, we did. Here’s Paula, heading in.
Oooooh, what’s this?
No, Paula, you do not want bunnies . . .
According to the fact sheet on the Garden Tower Project website, we need “eight cubic feet” of top soil to fill it. That’s four of these bags at $16 each.
Okay. “Do you have a cart?” We asked the clerk. Yes. Good. Paula goes for the first thing on David’s list. Marigolds, since they repel pests.
Where are those creole tomatoes?
Oops. Where are they? Aaaah. On another shelf. He wants four of them. For the top of the Garden Tower. Okay.
We gather the rest of his list — green peppers, eggplant, crooked neck squash, contender bean (seeds), plus herbs (basil, holy basil, dill, marjoram, parsley (two kinds), and a few others, about 50 in all, just the number to fill all the 45 holes plus the five plants on top. Total cost $165 (including soil). the Kreilkamp Estate to pay for it. (Thanks dear, deceased ol’ Dad!).
Next, the quest for “red wriggler worms.” The clerk at the Feed store had no idea where to get them, unless it be at a place down Rt 25 near some other town.
We decided to fortify ourselves first, with lunch at Mac’s, a great little place with white tablecloths and big salads and exquisite soups. Before delving down into our favorite discussion, I’ll call it here “Kreilkamp family dynamics,” I asked the waitress if she knew where to get red wrigglers. Well, as a matter of fact, she did. Walmart! They have several kinds of worms, she said, refrigerated, in the sporting goods section.
So I held my nose and for only the third time in my life walked into a nearby Walmarts superstore. Oops! They do have two kinds of worms, but neither of them “red wrigglers.”
I call son Colin, of the famed Garden Tower Project. He calls his partner Joel, who calls me, tells me no, you need red wrigglers.
Maybe another Walmart?
We find out where the next one is, Slidell, 18 miles away, get on I 12 East and go there, hoping against hope . . .
Nope. No red wrigglers there either.
We ask a clerk on our way out, a young black man. “Know any place that sells red wriggler worms?” Yes! “Go out the drive, turn right, go to the T, turn left, go to Front Street (I think he said) just past the railroad tracks, turn right, then look left, it’ll be a bait and tackle shop.”
Unfortunately, he didn’t say just how far Front Street was after you “turn left at the T.” (Paula hadn’t heard that expression, and so didn’t know what it meant, which surprised me, until she said that she was thinking of a lower case “t.” We both broke up, laughing, when I realized that a lower case “t” was a regular four-way intersection . . .).
So, for the record, we did find the bait shop. Luckily, Paula happened to be looking left right at the exact second as we passed it by, then swung around, parked, and we went in.
A few guys were in there, sittin’ around, chewin’ the fat. We asked if they had any “red wrigglers.” The clerk marched right to the back and pulled out a little cannister, opened it up, showed us. The worms weren’t as small as I remembered red wrigglers to be. He asked, “what are you going to use them for?” “Compost” — we both chimed in. He nodded his head decisively. “I sell a lot of these for compost.” Okay. Well, we’ll take a chance, after spending at over an hour trying to locate the elusive red wrigglers.
Deed done! (We hope.)
Ready. For tomorrow. And the Equinox.