Monday, April 26, 2010

In a Jiffy

I recently had the opportunity to give my wife a gift. Now this was not a big fancy gift and in fact I had not even wrapped it. In one of her quests into the dark parts of our home, she happily produced a “Jiffy Pot” greenhouse kit which she had thought was a ‘forgotten’ gift received some time ago. I was not mad or particularly concerned at the premature uncovering of the gift. It’s HER gift – so as long as it gets to the correct recipient then I am happy. Plus after many years of various gift giving rituals and obligatory occasions, my wife and I are long past worrying needlessly about such formalities.

Now if you are not familiar with Jiffy pots, they are basically a small pod consisting of compressed peat and potting soil. The idea is to add water and the pods expand to a small cylinder about 2 inches tall by just over an inch in diameter. Gardening in a ‘Jiffy’ is achieved as you water, stick a seed of your choosing in the middle of each pod and snap on a clear cover to simulate a miniature greenhouse. For $6 -$7 at your local retailer or nursery, Jiffy Pots are really quite helpful in starting plants toward healthy germination even if you are all thumbs, green or otherwise.

My wife eagerly planted all of the 50 mini greenhouse pods with a variety of veggies and flowers. I was amazed at how fast the whole process is. Within days, not weeks, the seeds germinated and started breaking through the soil. I simply provide a touch of water every couple of days on each pod and a lighted corner to let plant biology do its thing. It’s nice when things work as advertised and expected.

In fact, most of my experiences with the word “Jiffy” have turned out pretty well. Even now with microwave popcorn of every flavor in abundance at the market, I still have to buy a Jiffy Pop handled pan to cook directly over my stove once in awhile. There is something excitingly youthful about watching that foil turbin expand with its delicious aromatic contents. Jif Peanut Butter has seemed to fulfill its destiny pretty well too. The Smuckers set swear by the stuff ( ‘cause they OWN the brand), but I still prefer Peter Pan on my celery – I guess some guys never grow up? Nobody knows the origins of the idiom “In a Jif or In a Jiffy”. It is thought to originate from good old England around the mid 18th century. That makes sense as it just has that ‘oh so proper’ British lilt to it doesn’t it? Ok, I admit it ‘who cares?’ – Jiffy is an ‘iffy’ topic to be sure. I need to get back to my wife’s fast growing seedlings anyway. Because you know, at this rate, they LITERALLY will be ready to plant - in a Jiffy!

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