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Apparently, plants need proper care

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The Extension Service lady laughed when I told her why I was calling.

"My husband has killed my zucchini plant," I said.

"You wouldn't think it was possible, but the poor thing is crumpled up on the dirt. It's pale and I don't think it'll make it," I told her.

She said she'd send me some literature on growing garden vegetables and suggested my husband and I read it.

Apparently, zucchini needs water and sunlight and warmth.

"Avoid stressing plants by watering evenly and providing adequate fertilizer," suggested the paper.

I'm pretty sure the plant got plenty of sun since it's in the backyard next to the fence in full sun. I'm not so sure about the warmth, since we did have some snow for a few days there in May.

I suspect uneven watering and stress did this veggie in.

I shouldn't be surprised at the zucchini's demise because plants, shrubs and trees that take up residence in our yard do so at their own risk.

Neither my husband nor I have green thumbs.

It's pretty much a "go it alone" boot camp kind of living experience.

I think plants need water a lot.

My husband feels that a plant that truly needs water should ask for it. (Drooping leaves and a sickly appearance counts as asking for it.)

He also think it's fine to apologize to something newly planted that's been deprived of water. He told my pea plants he'd been busy and was surprised that only half of them came up.

It's fine to make up missed watering with plenty the next time, right?

He expects a garden to basically grow on its own. No wimps here, please.

(He does, however, take pruning very seriously and grass cutting. Hand him a power tool and foliage that's out of control and he's good to go.)

I, on the other hand, am too much of a fussbudget.

That's why I tend to let him take care of the outdoor stuff.

I stress over whether something is watered enough or looking peaked. I worry when leaves fall off or turn yellow and brown. I gather up all the little dead parts and tell myself I'm just deadheading, not just cleaning away evidence.

Because I can't relax around greenery, I regularly kill my houseplants with kindness. I plant, repot, water and pot again.

I have to make myself adhere to a strict biweekly watering schedule or nothing would grow at all.

If a plant does grow and thrive, I have to be forced to thin it or cut it back.

The zucchini is currently under my care. I'm trying to prop up its limp leaves and give it positive encouragement. But I'm not optimistic.

If it doesn't make it, does anyone want my address?

E-mail: haddoc@desnews.com