Friday, September 9, 2011

Chapter 1: Life on Mars

       As a teenager, I was utterly fascinated by the idea of  terraforming Mars.  There's something about establishing life on a hostile and lifeless planet that still captivates my imagination.  I suppose, in some way, this project is fulfilling that dream.
       That's not to say that downtown Seattle is a lifeless, or even hostile place, but from the mint's perspective there are many threats - being trampled, being consumed, various toxins from cars and garbage and cleaning chemicals, poor soil, exposure to the elements, being overly saturated in human and/or dog urine, etc.  Gardeners, as it turns out, are the biggest threat.  Out of the dozen mints I've planted this last month, half of them have been uprooted and raked over.  Apparently, the empty patches of dirt in the city are not exactly free for the taking.  I could, of course, find hidden areas in parks to plant mint, but there's no challenge in that.  And I'm not looking to actually harvest the mint; I just want to see if I can make them grow where they aren't expected.  Chances are, all the mint I plant will die, but I am hoping to be surprised.
      Two of the mints I've planted have survived over a month of life on the streets.  I have christened them "Spirit" and "Opportunity" (forgive the nerdiness), after the two Martian rovers that were expected to last only a few months, but ended up collecting data for over seven years.

(I've decided that I'll only track the progress of the plants that survive more than a month on this blog.)

(~one month)

(~one month)
Fun Fact: Soon after being planted, Opportunity was raked up by a gardener.  They made the mistake of leaving the plant on site.  I replanted it and, despite its roots being exposed to the air for over 12 hours, it now seems to be doing well.

      Meanwhile, the mint in my kitchen continues to grow healthily.  Judging by the flowers that have recently grown, and this photo, it looks like the specific type of mint I am growing is Spearmint.

Whichever type it is, I'll now refer to it as the "Mother Mint", since it is the source of all the mints I've planted, and will plant, for this blog.  The map below shows her seven surviving descendants, represented by the blue points.

(Current Survivors as of 9/9/11)

      From this bird's eye view I am reminded of the game RISK (again, forgive the nerdiness).  In the first round of RISK each player takes turns placing down one infantry token at a time until all the spaces are filled.  The goal afterward is not only to remain on the map, but also to grow in number and spread into different areas.  This, too, is my goal.

Thanks for reading.


  1. It would be interesting to see if certain defences or appearances, along with locations, bettered the chances of mint survival. One mint could perch on a small dirt mound, another beside a sign saying something punny like 'exsperimint' and one wear little mint clothes and made to grow in the form of a person and another that is made to look freakish..

  2. Seth, you just predicted my next chapter, 'Hiding in Plain Sight'! I guess we really are brothers.