SPREADING ROT

This is a posting about  my garden.   Really.   Any resemblance to our nation’s political situation is purely….intentiional.

We started out so well!

SAMSUNGThese are pumpkin leaves with a pretty good beginning.   HIgh hopes and optimism – and much care thinking about “future generations”   That is,  Cooper’s coming!   Our first and only grandson is coming for a visit this week.  I’ve known about this “end of September” visit for a long time, and so I began to prepare a surprise for him:  I’d grow pumpkins!   And then,  at 2 3/4 years old he will see where pumpkins come from!

But soon a problem began to manifest itself.

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In spite of tender loving care (and “good feelings”) and a nice bed of straw,  white spots developed on the leaves.  I showed it to some friends, but no one had much to say.   I stayed loyal and attentive and optimistic;  a little uncomfortable about this new development, but I didn’t know what to do about it.

I built “strong defenses”  for the pumpkin plants – protecting them from attack from without:  i.e., deer and raccoons and rabbits.

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The pumpkins found a way to escape.

Turns out no deer or raccoon or rabbit ever launched an attack.    I should have been looking within, at conditions within the fence, and specifically at the soil, the land, the location from which the leaves were growing.

The pumpkin plants were rotting from the bottom leaves upward.   New leaves and orange flowers are all right at the end of the vine,  but there is a spreading white-spot rot that is corrupting the plants from the ground up.    And they are dying.

It’s not attacks from without but corruption from within that kills a nation.  I mean a garden .   (The white spots turn leaves a sickly gray,  much as the sickly “red” of politics spreads from nation to nation.)

So I called on some help from Son, the scientist,  the pharmacist.   If anyone knows diseases, a pharmacist should!

He got to work.   Test tubes.  Chemicals.  Soil samples.  Charts….

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He discovered two things.   One, the soil itself was malnourished.   I fertilized once.   Once is not enough.

And the second thing is that I needed to be doing a lot of other things for the pumpkins because the world they live in is “corrupted.”    Eventually,  Son and i noticed that the surrounding leaves of the trees and bushes also had white spots on them.   Not all the plants.   Not all surrounding plants were diseased,  but enough to spread to the pumpkins plants I cared about.

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  That’s a maple sapling.

Son and I took a walk around our neighborhood, looking closely at our neighbors’ trees and shrubbery.  We inspected all the leaves that we could, and discovered that our whole neighborhood,  this “world”   that our garden was growing in,  was full of these white spots.

The disease is called white spot powder mildew.   Something like that.      There are things we could have done to keep our garden clean and strong,  but we didn’t know it in time.   It’s too late.    We have lost this pumpkin crop.

If we had known right at the beginning. . . .      If we had taken measures to stop the rot. . . .   If we had been vigilant and worked hard. . . .

If only we had known where we were heading. . . .

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