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GardenSharing

sharing a Barcelona Urban garden

The Importance of Being Messy

Volunteer peanut plants in an urban garden in Barcelona
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Yesterday was a crazy day, but I went up to the roof for a moment to see if everything was ok (read: to breathe) and next to the blueberry bushes I looked again at a kind of a weed that I had seen growing there the day before. The leaves were interesting, reminiscent of some plant I couldn't quite place, but it was clearly not a blueberry bush. I have been putting all sorts of stuff on the blueberries: mulch, fertilizer, a little bit of vinegar to acidify the soil, so at first I thought it might be a new blueberry sprout or something. But yesterday looking at it more closely, it was clear that the leaves were different and I thought it was just some weed, and I yanked it out.

But the plant I pulled out was solid (and not loose like a lot of weeds) and it had a serious, established root system, and I looked more closely and there was a little peanut: it was a peanut plant! Now I know what the leaves reminded me of... pea plants! There's a reason they call them peanuts :) Months ago I had hung up a birdfeeder, and it was above the pot where the blueberry plants were planted, a birdfeeder with raw peanuts to attract the Eurasian blue tits that I had photographed one day. And some peanuts had fallen, and since I'm a bit on the messy side, I just left them there. They must have gotten buried under the mulch, and happily gone about their business.

Peanuts are of course a basic food in the US, part of my daily diet as a kid, usually in the form of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and sometimes as a snack in salted handfuls. I also remember these ads at the back of the comic books I read advertising peanut palnts that "you can grow at home!" which even then seemed as spammy as promises of 24 million dollars from deposed Nigerian leaders. When Jimmy Carter was president, his peanut plantation seemed very far away from my yankee New England life in the frozen northeast. Peanuts came in glass jars, not in terracotta pots.

So I wasn't going to miss this opportunity. I stole five minutes out of a jam packed day and went to find some coconut fiber, some leftover dirt from withering plants, and some worm compost, and I popped the little peanut plant back in the dirt. I wasn't sure if it would survive, but this morning it looks pretty lively. I don't know if you know how peanuts grow: they do it underground like potatoes. My mom always says that digging for potatoes is like looking for buried treasure. And I agree: it's kind of magic to dig underground and find food. So, I think looking for peanuts in a pot in an urban garden in the middle of Barcelona in a few months will feel pretty similar. Thanks to the blue Eurasian tits!

And I must have saved the sweet pumpkin seeds from last fall properly—I cleaned them and then left them out on a tray so they could dry thoroughly, maybe for a week or so, moving them around a lot—and the other day I planted a handful, not knowing how many would germinate, and they ALL did. So, if you want seeds or little plants, let me know. I transplanted three of them to a larger pot. Remember these came from a sweet pumpkin that I had to pollinate by hand.

I've also added some other photos of the garden so you can see how it's progressing. If you want to see more pictures of my urban garden, I post a fair number of them to my Instagram channel.

And as always, if you subscribe to this page of mine on Aixeta, it will make me very happy, and you will receive news of these articles via email, and you'll be one of the first to receive seeds or cuttings that I share from my garden. And more things! Making this page on Aixeta also helps me see it from a user's point of view, finding problems or bugs, and thus helps me make the platform work better. 
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