Shrimp Pasta Salad with Lemon, Dill & Feta/ Plant Boot Camp

Common practice is to talk gently to your plants. Soothing them with lovely tales and melodic music. I am not a follower of these beliefs. My plants are put through more of a "boot camp."

My garden runs on the belief that only the strong survive. Seedlings are expected to show their face in a timely manner and thrive or they lose their place in the garden. Lucius has found me many times bent over my herbs demanding that the sage look at the oregano.

“Look at what he’s doing! Doubled in size and still growing while you just sit there refusing to stretch over 1 inch! Here I wake up every day and stand in the blazing sun watering you, pulling out those weeds that threaten to overtake you, and what do you do? Just sit there and pout.”

If all else fails I threaten the plants with the kitchen scrap treatment. I give them a fair chance but at one point enough is enough. Out you go to join the others in the compost pile, your spot taken by a celery end or rooted green onion bottom. It is very unorthodox but when your caretaker is an overly anxious and impatient human, unfortunately, this is the hand they've been dealt.

I am a fair overlord though. I will not tolerate bullies. Last year I planted tomatillos. Those are some sneaky little bastards. Growing big and strong their vines spreading through the garden, overtaking all that get in their way. This bullish behavior could have been forgiven if they produced more than damn tomatillo. I decided after watching my poor eggplants and cherry tomatoes desperately trying to survive the choke hold the tomatillo monster had on them, enough was enough. Out it went. A pompous plant that tries to destroy others while having nothing to back it up must be removed. I can’t stand an egotistical wealthy man rolling out of his hummer treating everyone like crap, believing that somehow he doesn’t have to respect people because he is so “special” and I will not stand for the plant version. It felt good ripping those greedy vines out of the garden, turning around and see my good little worker bees already rising their leaves to the sun.

As crazy as all of this might sound, it works, at least for me it does. Last year the dill plant was not pulling its weight. Once the tiny fragile chives started to overtake it I knew it was time for a heart to heart. No more Ms. Nice guy. I explained that if the cucumbers were showing how strong they could be, the dill needed to return the favor.

“How am I supposed to make pickles without Dill?” My little girls that water you when I can’t- their favorite is homemade pickles. Not only are you disappointing me but you are crushing the hopes of those big blue-eyed precious garden angels that depend on you for their favorite summertime treat."

One week later my dill had doubled in size. A huge freeze this past winter, no problem. The dill not only survived, it grew bigger. Proof that sometimes tough love works. I mean look at this beast. Now to go yell at the cucumbers that they are making the dill look bad and need to up their game. 

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