I hate doing things I’m not good at. I’m incapable of enjoying “the journey” because I think in terms of the reward for the end product. And any activity I’ve done to just to say I’ve done it has been awful. Like the half marathon that was literally the worst day of my life.
Even so, I have a tendency to take on new things without thinking about how much I will hate them.
This year I thought I’d take up gardening. I thought it would be relaxing. I thought I would really like spending time outside while tomatoes sprouted up out of nothing. And I have to say, the idea is still pretty attractive. Not in the self-sufficient farmer sort of way, but in the I really like homemade salsa sort of way.
So Chris and I planted a garden. We spent a Saturday cleaning up the backyard, clearing out fallen branches, picking up trash, filling the raised beds with dirt, and planting seeds. And when we were done, we were so incredibly sore, but we sat on the patio sipping grapefruit margaritas with friends, marveling at all we did that day.
And then we waited.
We knew it would take a long time. When you plant okra, spinach, beets, kale, carrots, watermelon, jalapeños, cucumbers, tomatoes, and green beans in late April, you have to wait for a long time for the seeds to become plants.
But May brought record amounts of rainfall–almost 20 inches in one month. In fact, a drought that was 5 years in the making was wiped out in less than 30 days. And so too were a lot of the seeds I planted. When it rains, it pours. And that meant that our yard flooded several times. Every time it flooded, new seeds were deposited in the raised beds, and I’m talking seeds from just out in the yard washed up into the garden, not the sort of seeds you want growing. I suppose I could’ve done something to prevent the good seeds from washing away and bad seeds washing in every time the rain fell in thick sheets, but we were more concerned with unclogging the French drain in the backyard so the driveway and garage wouldn’t flood.
(Side note: We figured out what was clogging the French drain. It was a drowned bunny. Rosie was the one that helped us on that one, because she ate part of said bunny while playing around the drain, and then puked up said bunny in the living room. Dog ownership is a real treat sometimes.)
By the end of June, we were finally getting some tomatoes. And we’ve had a few jalapeños too. The cucumbers are finally coming in, which is great because I thought all my Persian cucumber seeds had washed away. I’ve diligently watered the garden on days that it hasn’t rained, and it appears that my labors have paid off.
But, well, I need to admit something.
I’ve been diligently watering things that I shouldn’t have been watering. I’m a novice gardener, and I couldn’t remember what I planted where. So as things seemed to sprout up in rows, I just kept watering them, assuming that time would reveal to me the fruits (or vegetables) of my labors. And it has. Only it wasn’t so much time as it was Chris doing a reverse Google image search of pictures of our plants.
Here’s a look at some of the finer weeds I’ve grown this summer.
And here’s El Generalisimo.
He’s a big ‘un. He was taller than me, until Chris uprooted him last night, along with his little friends from above.
Is my garden a failure? Mostly. But, perhaps this can be an exercise in philosophy. Or if not philosophy, perhaps an exercise in a pretty weak parable. Maybe it means that while we’re busy making plans for the future of our gardens, we should pay more attention to what we’re cultivating. (That would also make great parenting advice, I guess, if I knew anything about children and the ownership thereof.)
Anyway, at least I have tomatoes, jalapeños, and cucumbers. Those are all totally edible.