Articles written by Darryl McCullough (unless otherwise noted)

Sunday, December 18, 2016


I love stories of wandering and struggle, that end with finding a home. I'm not sure why, since I was born lucky, in a stable home, and pretty much just had to follow the rules for everything to work out fine for me.

Maybe it goes back to the days even before agriculture, when the clan foraged for a while until a change of season or a stronger clan required a change of scenery, and everyone's lifelong fantasy was permanent residence in a land of plenty. Whatever the reason, tales of a harrowing journey to find a home have always been a favorite, around campfires or Smart TV's, and always will be.

The latest Odysseus in my groves was a pineapple pup. I'd decided to try growing some pineapples in pots, investing some time, effort, and potting mix in return for the ability to move them to safety on the porch when the fruit gets to the raccoon-ready stage. I pulled some pups from my in-ground plants and set them in 1-gallon pots, to be moved to their final 3-gallon homes once they had rooted out.

After setting up eight of his more fortunate cousins, I'd reached the point when the rest were going on the compost pile. For me that pile is just a big open pit surrounded by my papaya plants. Forest gods do come and feast, but I figure better there than in my fruit trees, and like as not they will leave the King of the Outdoors a blessing of natural fertilizer in return.

Little Ody was unceremoniously left for dead in the rotting pile, some time in the fall. Of course I couldn't see his intense struggle to root faster than he would die of thirst in the Florida sun. That is, not until a few weeks ago, when I noticed him showing a bit of verticality. As the days went by, he fought the rest of the way up and opened his leathery bromeliad leaves to the sky.

Of course after that I had to pot him up, in a mix with some really tasty organic amendments. After a few days in the shade to recover from the ascension to paradise, he's joined his eight had-it-easy mates. Someday he will reward my change of heart with a tasty fruit.

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