I'M REALLY, REALLY good at gardening, guys. I will garden the shit out of any pitiful patch of dirt you put in front of me. Hell, by the time I'm done here, I'll have gardened your face, and your mouth will be sprouting baby carrots with a side of ranch.

So, let's get into the inside dirt on gardening, fools! What'll we need to get started? Well, when I garden I just look at the ground and baked potatoes sprout, so maybe bring some shovels? And a hoe, hoe bag. Also, can we garden at your place? My man told me I can't grow stuff at our house. If we're doing the whole "conventional gardening" thing, we're going to have to weed out some ground space so strawberries can appear. Well, go for it! I'll just drink a white wine spritzer, and maybe grab a comic book. Be right back.

Looking good out here, Bub! But what are all these crooked rows of dirt? Where I'm from, we make our rows straight! Best get to fixing up that sad sack of a garden. I'll just finish the crossword here. What's a six-letter word for the early capital of Macedonia?

I know some folks are into planting exotic asparagus, but I don't like to grow things that make my pee smell like a rainbow. I'm more into radicchio. I like to say "radicchio." It's also fun to talk about casaba melons, right? Oof. I guess we still have a lot of work to do. Have you planted the seeds yet? Put 'em in the dirt. Cover 'em up with more dirt. There's a lot of misinformation out there, but most sources say you're definitely going to want to water the dirt.

And now I'm going to let you in on the secret ingredient to a lush, fruitful garden. It's... compost. No one knows about the miraculous growing properties of this nutrient-rich magic dirt, so let's just keep that between ourselves, eh? I like to throw all my food scraps and yard waste into our compost pile, so it's as nutrient rich as humanly possible. Into the loamy pile goes my hamburger from lunch and the doggy doo from that inconsiderate LA transplant-neighbor's 100-pound corgi. Mint is also really good for the heap, so don't scrimp on menthol butts from those helpful high school kids down the street (they must be in Future Farmers of America!). Once your compost is good and cooked, spread it all over your garden rows. Vegetables will happen right after.

Now just sit back and wait for a succulent cornucopia to arise from the earth. I'm going to put butter on mine.

Wait for it.

I think you just have to wait longer.

Seriously. Wait for it.

Try watering the dirt again.

Nothing? Maybe try kicking the dirt.


AURGH, FINE! The real secret to gardening is the grocery store. Go buy corn, a couple wads of kale. Put them on your dirt. Harvest. See, wasn't that easy? I love gardening! It's really rewarding, and there's nothing like knowing all your blood, sweat, and monstrous corgi poop went into the abundant bounty that fills your heart and fridge, so you can really brag about your mad gardening prowess the next time you show up at a potluck with your signature Ridiculous Radicchio Cowboy Caviar. You earned it, babe.

Editor's Note—Please do not garden like this. Portland is full of expert gardeners who know the best ways to grow squash and all manner of delicious vegetables. Call the Multnomah County Master Gardener Hotline at 445-4608 (Monday-Friday from 10 am-2 pm) for pressing gardening questions and tips. Check out their online resources at metromastergardeners.org. Or hit up your community garden neighbors for advice: see portlandoregon.gov/parks/39846. And you can bet your sweet beet the folks at local nurseries and urban farm stores are full of helpful advice. The month-by-month gardening book The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest is also a fantastic (and locally published) resource.