Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mystery Seed update: Telephone Conversation with Mom

So as I said, I needed to call my mom about the seeds she gave me that were supposed to be swiss chard, except weren't.

(Note: my mom speak to me in what we call, "Chinglish" Chinese-English, so I've italicized her dialogue for your imagination)

(Also, this dialogue gives you an idea of what I dealt with growing up)

ME: Hey mom, the seeds that you sent me... I don't think they're swiss chard.  Is there any way you can talk to the auntie who gave them to me about what they are exactly?

MOM: They're Chinese chard--- I think... 

ME:  Chinese chard? What the heck is Chinese chard?  What does it look like? Taste like?  Have I had this??

MOM:  I think it's something called xian cai.  You've had it before! You like it! 

ME:  Uh.. ok.  I have no clue what this is still... are you sure?  Maybe you should give auntie a call.

MOM:  Ok. I give auntie a call and find out for certain.

MINUTES LATER... *ring ring*

MOM:  I was wrong.  It's a different vegetable.

ME: So what is it?

MOM:  It's a different vegetable.  I can't pronounce or spell it... Auntie speaks a different dialect and all these asian vegetables have different names anyways.

ME:  Wha-?  Can you at least tell me what it's like? 

MOM: It's green.

ME: ..............................................

MOM:  Ok, lots of vegetables are green.  You can put it on rice! In soup! with noodles!

ME:  But how do I plant it?  What temperature or environment does it like?   How big does it get? What kind of light does it need? What does it even look like???  AIIE?!?

MOM:  It's green with darker green on top!!!  About the size of.... arugula?!!
(*This is the only vegetable comparison my mom really knows of... I have no idea why)
*MOM getting huffy*  LOOK, if you don't want the seed, YOU CAN THROW IT AWAY.

ME: Ack, I'm not going to throw it away... that would be a waste.  I just like to know what I'm growing!

MOM:  THROW IT AWAY if you don't want it.  I don't know what to tell you about it.

ME: *sighing*  I'll just test it in one of my beds... and see what happens... *groan*  THANK YOU for the seed...


So, the lessons here are:
1) My mother is an unreliable source for seed
2) LABEL-LABEL-LABEL! (unless it's in Chinese characters, then I'm useless) 
3)  Gardeners need to be adventurous?

I'll tell you how this mystery seed/plant goes/grows, what it tastes like and take plenty of picks this season!  I am excited/scared about its prospects.