Sunday, October 20, 2013

Toddlers, the mortal enemies of Zucchini

I have made quite the scientific discoveries this week:

1. Zucchini sprouts when looked after can be tougher than $2 steak

2. I know this because I have a two year old who is hell bent on their imminent destruction.

This is he.

This discovery was unearthed over a few months after I stumbled over a large collection of pretty useless wood by the side of my shed. Useless in the fact that only the most desperate of shanty builders would give them a second look when creating a custom made lean-to in poverty paradise.

Salvaged from the shed renovation, rather than practice my wood splitting ax kicks or stoking up the trash burner in the shed corner, I decided to flex my creative muscle and create....a planter box for the back deck! Call it masculine pride, call it an itch to break out the drill, call it what you will - I suddenly decided I wanted, nay needed a weekend project.
In the words of people just as foolish as I: How hard could this be?

Well if you're Scott Cam from the Block, piss easy. If you're Almigo from Al's House of Injury, not so easy. Still if you looked at the right angle and ignored the 'out by more than a few ml' measurements then it actually came up alright (once I added the Japanese style solar lights and things started to grow..)

It's Alive!!!!!

My lovely wife picked the Zucchini seeds, I picked the veggie specialty potting mix and because it wasn't spherical and easy to throw the dog ignored it completely. Watered daily it started coming to life (much to my amazement) and in no time at all my Zucchini's would be the talk of not only the neighborhood but fresh produce markets the world over. I could practically smell the bookings to be on Jamie Oliver and Ramsey's cooking shows.
Masterchef? Aiming way too low there my friend. With these babies I'd be Galaxychef!

Better than this!

Well that was the plan until the day I horrifyingly discovered that two year olds have a chronic infatuation with attempting to destroy freshly grown seedlings. One afternoon while I was in the back shed making my arms slightly more impressive by throwing some iron around, my little bloke decided the root structure of these SuperzuchsTM needed some air and so he took my mini plants for a walk, depositing them halfway across the back deck.
After a quick replant and explanation to him not to touch Daddy's only remotely successful gardening project so far, two days later the seedlings ended up in even more pieces on the back deck table, the dirt that came with them now covering the dog bowl.
(Since the dog hasn't developed a taste for potting mix and since he tried to hug me with some very dirty hands, he was guilty until proven innocent in this case). A stern word and another replanting later, I was sure he had learnt that like the oven when it's making noise, the planter box is a no go zone.
And amazingly after a time two things happened - the Zucchini continued to flourish and Toddler 2000 obviously found other ways to keep himself amused with outside. 

Ho ho! You're very funny da da!
Well until today that is when I noticed that one of the lights had been lifted up and was sticking out of the box at an angle. Never a good sign, I walked over and noticed a severe lack of green amongst the deep brown of overworked potting mix.
Obviously my plants needed some water and Almigo JNR had decided that rather than bring water to the plants, he would take them right to the source. So I found this this afternoon floating around in what my son lovingly calls 'Doggy Water' aka the dog bowl.

How long they've gone for a swim I don't know - they're back in the planter box at the moment while I scheme ways to create an sms device that warns me if he even looks in their general direction again. Either that or we elevate them when out of reach of Mr Happy Fingers here. While I have no idea where he put (buried) the fourth one, three remain in a semi stable condition and will be monitored closely. (Sure after the agony I should just buy some Zucchini's from the supermarket and leave it at that, but I'm quite impressed that the planter box hasn't spontaneously combusted like everything else I've ever built so I'm getting as much use out of it as I can.)

No idea what he's got against my plants but I'm not impressed in the slightest. I will remember these incidents when he turns 18 and needs the keys to the twin turbo to impress a lady or two...

(Come to think of it, maybe I should actually grow brussel sprouts instead - if I recall correctly no child in my time has ever wanted to go anywhere near them..)     


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