Monday, March 14, 2011

Give Me Your Cup and No One Gets Hurt

My name is Connie, and I’m a gardener. I bought my first plant 25 years ago, and I can’t stop. Seriously. Only this year, I’m doing seeds instead of plants. Cheaper. Definitely not easier. I’ve done seeds before so I know what I’m talking about.
Here’s the thing. The only way it’s cheaper is if you don’t spend money on fancy seed starters like peat pots, etc. Yeah, I covet them, and they’re easier. But we’re doing cheaper. That means I need cups to plant the seeds in. And since I’m not buying them, it means I need to mooch them. Providentially, our church had a luncheon yesterday. After the luncheon, I went dumpster diving. Okay, not too literally, I only picked a few cups out of the trashcans. Most cups I grabbed just as people were throwing them into the trashcan. It went something like this.
Me: Can I have that cup, please?
Person 1: Uh, sure...
Me: I want to reuse the cup (scoring points for environmental consciousness) to plant my garden seeds.
Person 1 (realizing that I’m not a lunatic): Right, okay.
But not all my experiences were quite so straightforward.
Me: Can I have that cup, please? I want to reuse it. (I was trying to cut down on odd facial responses.)
Person 2: Oh. (He looks at the Styrofoam cup oddly.)
Me (wondering why I’m still getting odd looks): I’m going to plant seeds in it for my flower garden.
Person 2 (laughing): I thought you wanted to wash it in order to use it again for the next luncheon.  I thought it was your Dutchness coming out.
Me (smiling, not offended at the reference to pecuniary Dutchness because said person’s wife is also Dutch): No, no. I don’t think I’d do that. (Maybe I would at home with my kids. But not with other people—they’d have non-family germs.)
So I brought my used Styrofoam cups home. And proceeded to say, “Ariel, let’s soak the seeds!” She gives me a languid look and says, “I don’t know why you think that I’m excited about this.” My shoulders droop. Ariel then remembers all the times that I’ve pretended to be interested in some obscure matrix theory and says, “Okay, fine.”
She watches while I label the cups, pour in the seeds, and add water. Her contribution to the process beyond watching is to say, “Euw! Those hollyhock seeds look like fleas!” Indignant, I say, “They do NOT look like fleas. Fleas are much smaller.” At that, Ariel gives me her triumphant look. I grumble. Then she announces that when she gets a home of her own, she’s going to hire me to do her gardening. I think that I’m going to be way too expensive for her to hire. She can pull her own weeds. 


  1. My father works with his seeds in frisbees. We can't use them to play with because they always have seeds in them. :)

  2. Heh heh heh, I think Ariel will have a garden of weeds.

  3. Connie- bent u een Nederlander? Echt? I didn't realize.
    I lived in the NL for 5 years. In Enschede. Had both my boys there.
    The Dutch are very thrifty. They often put me to shame, and I am an environmentalist who loves to re-use things!
    I am doing seeds this year, too... it's always an experiment for me.

  4. Haha! The world needs more gardeners like you (to make up for plant-challenged people like me!). Go, Connie! :D

  5. KO-

    My mom emigrated to the US from Alphen aan den Rijn. In fact, my current novel is set there.

  6. I am way to impatient to do the seed thing and the cups and hardening off and...

    I'm jealous of your early bird work on the garden.

  7. Just a trifle smug here where my tomato plant has buds about to blossom. I am a little late with the luttuce seeds which I hope to broadcast under the fig tree today.

  8. How cool Connie- some friends of ours moved to Alphen aan de Rijn, but we've never visited them there. I have a plan to some day write a steam punk YA book set in the NL (though I'm making it "windpunk" for obvious reasons).

  9. I love where you live...but here, it's just throwing seeds from the packet into the ground & watch them grow in a week or so :>) Lettuce & beans are pushing up. San Diego is nice for something~

    As for recycling...everyone reminds me that "disposable" means "throw away". I always have plastic bags drying and anything else washable has to be broken before it gets thrown away. (I have a sneaky suspicion that some people break tines off the plastic forks on purpose, just to drive me crazy...or crazier, as they would say.)