Veggie Patch Dispatch: Sweet Potatoes are Assholes

Seriously, they are. Those no good motherfuckers. Dudes. Some of you already know about Veggiopolis. It was my first-ever attempt at anything like vegetable gardening. Unless you count two little pots of rosemary and other assorted odds and ends – all potted and chillin’ on my half-rotten deck. Yeah, I didn’t think so.

The Setup:

A couple of women at work are always yammering on about their homegrown veggies. Now this is something I’d wanted to try for years: a little backyard veggie garden. I’m not a big veggie eater. In fact, I usually look upon them with scorn and scoot them right the hell over if they dare hop onto my plate. But a veggie garden sounded fun. At least one of my mamaws had a serious green thumb, but she had zero interest in passing her know-how on to anyone else. So I collected the random book and internet article, but I was too overwhelmed and afraid of failing to ever get anything going.

I mentioned this long discarded desire to Queen Bitch of the Universe, she of the supposed Super Garden. And then I took her advice on so many things. I thought, hell, it’s easier to rely on someone’s word of mouth information from experience than it is to try to pry that shit out of books and the internet and pick what I think may work best. This was gonna be guaranteed success! Seeds and starters and tips from Queen Bitch Master Gardener Extraordinaire herself! Don’t worry, I knew this would come with head swelling and bragging, and I was right. It wasn’t long before I had to take a chainsaw to the office entryway so that Queen Bitch’s head could fit through.

Well guess the fuck what. Queen Bitch is not only Queen Bitch but she’s also Queen Moron, because my poor woebegone Veggie Patch suffered from woebegotten advice. (Don’t you love those words? They’re woebeawesome!) No, it wasn’t just the scorching record-breaking summer heat! No, it wasn’t just the record-breaking drought! It was also that woebegotten advice! (Hehe there it is again. I’m not even certain it’s a real word. But it is to me. And that’s all that counts, isn’t that right Velveteen Rabbit and Pinocchio?)

Where it all went wrong:

You see, I planted sweet potato slips in my little raised bed veggie patch. Only 4 slips. And I gave them four squares…or four square feet of growing area. Yeah. Those of you that know gardening and things probably see where this is headed.

This past weekend was supposed to be harvest time. Time to dig up those sweet taters. The vines and leaves looked lush and gorgeous. They’ve been the healthiest citizens of Veggiopolis to date, well those and my green onions. I decide to tackle the sweet potato area one square at a time. There were only four, but I liked the idea of being systematic about it.

Gingerly, timidly I tug on the vine nearest my perch at the edge of the patch. It’s rooted pretty well, so I pull harder. Success: the piece of vine in hand comes up and dislodges from the soil. But it breaks off at the surface. I realize I need to use my little spade if I want this to go quickly and efficiently.

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I dig in and find a thick thread of root. Tossing the spade aside, I latch on to the root and start to pull, sliding my hand along and pulling as I go…a bit gentler now so as not to break the root again.

Dude.

Just how long is this root?

Seriously.

Wait, what the hell, man. What’s it doing over there? Ah well, that’s okay. I mean, it’s not like roots are going to obey some arbitrary boundaries between my marked off squares, right?

Oh no way. The square just to the left is nothing BUT sweet potato roots. No wonder that damn pumpkin died. I must be nearing the end, though, I think as I continue following this root to its end. I was positively flummoxed. Flabbergasted. Dumbfounded.

You wanna know where that root went? Hm? Yeah. You already know, don’t you? All the way to the timber bordering the box on the opposite side of Veggie Patch. Look, Veggiopolis is small, measuring 4 x 6 on the inside for 24 square feet of planting area. The sweet potatoes are in the bottom right corner from the way I was facing it. Which means the roots stretched clear across the 6′ length on the inside. And those assholes were not content to do a 1 x 6 spread. Oh no.

At this point, I started attacking the soil with vigor, hurling a vituperative verbal assault on the scheming Taters of Doom. I found sweet potato vines and creepers entangled with the long-dead roots of my green bean bushes. They never stood a chance. The snaking roots of the warring Tribe o’ Taters had infiltrated the carrots’ realm and annihilated them as well. And the poor peas. Situated as they were at the far opposite end of Veggiopolis, the English peas had struggled mightily. Oh how I believed in those peas. But they, too, had been slain in the end and succumbed to great forces of evil. And now I know why.

The devastating triad of Record Heat, Drought and Taters of Doom crushed all in its path. Not to mention the fact that I’m a rookie. My poor veggie patch had never stood a chance. Only the onions stood their ground. I have newfound respect for the Mighty Green Onions of Veggiopolis. Nevermore will I push them aside on my plate. I shall eat them and make their mightiness a part of me! (Ew. I’m pretty sure I just said something akin to becoming one with green onions. The fuck, man.)

You know nothin’, Jon Snow:

The moral of the story is this: Never paint your toenails on the Sabbath. Wait. Wrong moral. Or wrong story. Uhm. Oh yeah. Don’t put asshole sweet potatoes in a raised bed with other vegetables. Because Sweet Potatoes are Assholes. And also, Green Onions are for Winners. And no-nothing newbies should really do some more fucking research before walking to Mordor. I mean. Fuckin’ hell, I got sidetracked again. No wonder all my shit died.

The Harvest:

All that, and you wanna know what the harvest was? Hm? Words simply cannot do it justice. Let me show you. No, no. It’s no trouble. In fact, I insist.

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Yeah. And the thing is, I didn’t finish. So there are probably tens of those scrawny fucks scattered throughout Veggiopolis. Fucking insurgents. But I met a Bonus Asshole that ran me off before I could finish my work.

Bonus Asshole:

This son-of-a-bitch right here made me throw the spade, scream and run away.

Wally the Wolf Spider. That's right. His name is Wally. It just came to me, though he probably tried to tell me then.
Wally the Wolf Spider. That’s right. His name is Wally. It just came to me, though he probably tried to tell me then.

Don’t worry, I didn’t kill him. But my gardening fun was over for the afternoon following our rendezvous. I know wolf spiders aren’t really harmful; their venom doesn’t pack much punch. (That is a wolf spider, right?) Plus they’re good for gardens. But they’re not good for Stephanies. Oh no. Stephanies vividly imagine robbing wolf spiders of their lives by maniacally and repeatedly stabbing the shit out of them with the pointy end of a spade. And then Stephanies choose to let them live and run away instead.

P.S. I touched that asshole (ewwww the visuals) with my naked hand! No glove! You would have screamed and run, too! Don’t lie! Stop lying! Fine, I’m a wuss!

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