you can’t kill something that never grew.
“Maybe it’s a small weed,” my husband said.
“No, it’s a carrot,” I said.
I was sure it was a carrot. For two weeks there had been nothing in that pot and then, just like that, there it was. My first plant that I had grown from a seed. A week later, I had three more. I was on a roll. I was growing carrots and life couldn’t have been any better. I couldn’t wait until they sprouted into a spiral and I could see them fill the top of the pot like a chia pet.
Then, as fast as those three carrot sprouts had poked out, they were gone. I patiently waited for more to pop up over the coming weeks, but there were none. It was like Phil Collins knew this would happen when he wrote “Against All Odds.” There’s just an empty space now, in the pot; nothing left there to remind me, just the memory.
“It’s okay,” Jessica said, “it’s getting late in the season for carrots, March is the best time. You can’t kill something that never grew.”
But it did grow. I have photographic evidence at least one did—but, there were three. I appreciate Jessica’s support, and like all amazing friends, it’s her job to tell me it’s too hot for the carrots now. It’s her job to tell me that they like shade, that they prefer the spring over summer, that they “hide” in direct sunlight.
It was none of those things. I know what happened. It wasn’t the unusually hot June we were having. It wasn’t the greenhouse, or the sun—if three braved the sunlight for air, there could have been more. The demise of my carrots came from my inability not to overwater anything living inside a pot. As I excitedly watered my tiny baby carrot showings, they were slowly and silently drowning in the space that was supposed to be their home. Their safe space.
I had such high hopes on the day I drew the spiral into the soil with my finger and gingerly sprinkled the thousands of tiny carrot seeds into their future home. With so many seeds, I was bound to get a least one carrot, I thought. I mean, even I couldn’t kill an entire packet of seeds. There were so many. If I had neglected them, there had to be one ambitious carrot in the bunch who desired nothing more than to be cared for, grown, picked, and either fed to our rabbits or one of my kids. What’s the point of life without dreams? Well, it seems I got the package of carrots that was undetermined to navigate into life partly on its own. These were carrots that were not going to help me out. I got the package of carrots that was lazy. Their only job is to grow. How hard is that? Photosynthesis does most of the work. And science. Maybe nature.
It took me a long time to get over losing the carrots—I’m still frustrated and disappointed. I probably should have replaced the pot with a beautiful flower or something to add more color to the greenhouse, because for some reason most of my flowers seem immune to me. Most of them, anyway. A nice flower would have maybe helped me move on.
I refused though. I kept hope alive. The carrots would come back. They would grow. This couldn’t be over. One day, I would come in to check on things, and there they’d be. A single tiny row of carrots determined to make a place in the world despite the obstacles I stacked against them on a continual basis. Still, deep down, I knew they wouldn’t. Phil Collins knew too. I don’t know how they could just walk away from me when all I could do was watch them leave. Carrots from seeds were against the odds, and that’s what I’ve got to face.
It’s been a few weeks since I lost the carrots and eagerly waited for any of them to come back—like a jilted lover who ran off after an argument over the price of Starbucks coffee.
“They aren’t really gone,” I thought to myself. “This is silly. They’ll be back, they’re overreacting.”
Was overwatering really a reason to just up and die? Sounds a bit extreme to me. So, I waited for them to get over it, and return.
Maybe next year I should start the carrots earlier. Maybe Jessica is right; spring and shade compliment potential carrots better than simmering in my overwatering habits through June and July. Maybe I should just get a chia pet.