A Fertile Ode to John Denver

(And believe it or not, this is not a Dumb and Dumber reference. For the PG audience, please cover your ears at precisely 12.5 seconds into this clip.)

Saving the world begins with tomatoes. And basil. But first, a prologue.

Today is Saturday and it is sunny and winter here in Italy is kind of nearing it’s end and it’s warm out and the birds are chirping. ALL that leads to just one conclusion: it’s time to plant some plants!

While strolling around my neighborhood yesterday I found an agricultural store – their terminology, not mine. I would have called it a plant store. Anyway I did what every normal person would do in that situation, I bought some pots and dirt and seeds and lugged it home. As John Denver belts out, Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make that garden grow.

Here is a step-by-step process of me not having any idea what I’m doing. Let’s begin: here are my supplies.

I’m optimistic about this whole endeavor because here on the sunny south-facing deck, which will serve as my greenhouse, we already have all sorts of odd shrubbery and moss and ferms growing.

I am particularly pleased with the dirt that I bought. I didn’t really study what it was exactly but I noticed that the bag tells me the sun is exactly +33 degrees (Celsius, obviously), clouds are 0 degrees when it snows, and most importantly that this dirt is impenetrable to lightening! Plus it cost one euro per bag.

You can tell I was tackling serious gardening this morning since I put on my Crocs and brewed up some tea. As you probably know, I’m not a tea person. But if I’m going to hug a tree, make some granola, and grow a garden I decided drinking tea and wearing rubber shoes would make everything more apt.

A quick aside: here’s the truth about Crocs – or maybe it’s the truth about cycling. When you have them on, everyone looks at you disdainfully. You’re an awkward outcast unaware just how cast out you really are. UNTIL you join with the Croc crowd. The same with cycling; it’s no exaggeration that we’re loathed by the masses, but once you join the ranks of “cyclist” you get to plead ignorance which is blissful as you pleasurefully pedal away! So buy Crocs, ride your bike, and embrace the bliss in the process.

Here are the seeds. It is truly a powerful feeling to know that I alone hold the power to put these seeds in the ground and create food with which to feed myself. I will then give up purchasing food at the store entirely and will soon have a cow roaming this deck with suckling pigs and some chickens as well. I will soon grow wheat and rice and legumes from this deck and then have sun catching panels installed along with a wind turbine with which to collect power. Yes, these seeds provide unparalleled power.

Here is a shot I took while not knowing what on earth I am doing. Or more specifically, of my products mid-assembly line… while I don’t have any idea what on earth I’m doing.

And now, the final product! Or semi-final product, rather, since nothing is actually growing yet. I assembled a garden about 9 months ago, which just so happened to coincide when I went to Italy for the Giro for a month and then to America for another month.Therefore no one tended my basil and it died a tragic and arid death. I’m an optimist, though, and don’t see that happening this time ’round. Furthermore, I did also create a delicious garden back in 2008 in Asheville. You can recall all of those good times here.

Also please note my brown fingers in this next photo, which are neighbors to my… wait for it… green thumb. (HeeEEEEYooo!)

So you see my friends, I will save the world one tomato and basil plant at a time. I recommend you do the same.


  1. firwave

    Nice! Keep us updated on your “garden”. Warm 32° here in Maine. Gonna be tapping soon…

  2. Alex

    Nice work on the garden.

    Crocs? The King of Style has clearly abdicated.

  3. corinne

    If you’re looking to really feel hippydippy, it’s quite easy to make your own yogurt and granola. Bit cheaper, too. (and if you’re feeling less classy, you can make things like strawberry cake flavored yogurt and no one needs to know)

  4. Antonio Costa

    Excelent! Love it. 🙂

  5. Marcia Valenzuela

    I heard used coffee beans are good for the garden.

  6. Becky B

    Starting tomatoes from seed? Outside? You are brave indeed!
    And those Crocs need some charms! http://www.jibbitz.com/home/homepage,default,pg.html

    I’m not ashamed to admit that I have Harry Potter…

  7. Wendy

    I look forward to reading about the first Caprese salad.

  8. jack

    Dude (and it sounds as if I can call you dude) you are in serious need of a Stumptown fix.

  9. VaccaBoia

    Pomodoro and Mozzarlella salad at Cicli Max Later in the year then. I will bring the cheese, Max will bring the Basil. Walk round the wall afterward as a digestif…

  10. Carl Hofmann

    Writing from Boulder County, CO, it’s nice to see such greenthumb effort going into something non-“medicinal”, if you know what I mean. Way to go, Farmer Ted!

  11. KKKKen

    Everything looks perfect…….errrrrr…..except the Crocs.

  12. TomPears

    Sorry to be off topic but you ask about good read but where does one answer? So I decided on here? Bangkok 8 by John Burdett, Swampplandia by Karen Russell. Be careful riding and reading.

  13. Sophy

    You like pumpkins, right?

    Saw this and it reminded me of ya.

    Ride on.

  14. Amy Prescott

    Gardening and saving the world…definitely still a MiddKid at heart.


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