My daughter and I were at the store the other day and I couldn't help but drool over all the gardening things - seed packets, shiny new pots, new shovels, new gloves. And this year, I have hope. You see, I garden like some people diet. I start out with great intentions and then tend to find better things to do.
But I love spring, I love the idea of growing this lush garden full of organic fruits and vegetables. So much so that when we bought our house six years ago, one of the things that sold me was the generous plot of land on the side, bordered by a gray stone wall. It really would be the perfect garden, except for one factor: me.
Year 1: Planted tomatoes, cucumbers, three kinds of peppers, onions and lettuce. Came down with unexplained fatigue a month later (pregnant, anyone?) and decided to grow a baby instead. Husband raked over the weed-filled mess in August. Total vegetables harvested: 0
Year 2: Planted tomatoes, cucumbers, three kinds of peppers, onions and lettuce. Couldn't bring myself to go out and weed and water in scorching July temps with a new baby. Husband raked over the weed-filled mess in August. Total vegetables harvested: 5 tomatoes, 1 slightly scary looking pepper that nobody but me would eat.
Year 3: Already pregnant with kid #2. Planted tomatoes and pumpkins, thinking surely with only two crops... Raked over in July. Total vegetables harvested: 1 surprisingly hearty pumpkin in November.
Year 4: Abandoned cute garden plot for two container pots of tomatoes on the deck. Installed a bird feeder right above them. The seed from the bird feeder sprouted weeds in my lowly containers. Weeded like a fiend, watered, the tomatoes survived! The squirrels noticed and stole every tomato, except for two tiny ones that I took off the vine green. A third tomato was stolen by a turtle. My husband called it my most successful year ever and sweetly didn't mention that we'd spent approximately $60 in plants, pots and supplies for a yield of two cherry tomatoes. Total vegetables harvested: 2 1/2
Year 5: Decided to ditch it all in favor of watermelon. How hard can it be to grow them? You just add lots and lots of water. Plus, the huge vines and leaves will cover up the weeds already growing in the garden. Result: lush weeds, 3 watermelons and the realization that squirrels love watermelon. Hairy rodents eat rind and burrow into the melons before I can harvest them. One even sits inside a ruined watermelon, taunting me. Total vegetables harvested: 0
But this is the year! I can feel it in my bones. In fact, we bought packets so we can grow the plants from seed. Nobody can kill plants like I can, but really, how hard can it be to grow tomatoes, pumpkins and three kinds of squash from seeds? I'll let you know...