June 24, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I have a garden. I know it's hard to believe but I do. And it's actually producing edible food. If you know me at all, you know this is an amazing accomplishment. I'm great at growing houseplants but outdoor plants? Not so much. It probably wouldn't be so bad if I actually liked to be outside or if I enjoyed playing in the dirt but I really don't like either one.

So why start a garden? That's a very good question. Like everything else, I blame it on my mother. When I was young, my mom had a garden out back. She grew peas, zucchini, tomatoes and lots of other things that I don't eat. I can remember going out to the garden and picking tomatoes off the vine and eating them. I remember opening up the pea pods and popping those little green balls out and eating them right there. I've always told myself that I was going to have a garden like my mom did.

Now, I'm not a complete idiot. I knew that I needed to wait until I had the time (and yard) to devote to this garden. My house has the perfect spot and for the last 3 years, our friend and renter grew lots of things in it while I watched, shaking my head as she watered and weeded at 6 in the morning. She loved to be in her garden. I was content to watch her through the window.

This spring however, she wasn't here to plant her garden. I got the brilliant idea that I should keep it going. I spent days clearing out the space. Weeding, tilling, preparing the soil. My mom went shopping with me for seeds and starters and stakes and tools and gloves. Almost $200 and a few weeks later and my garden was planted. It looked perfect. For about a day.

What I didn't realize was that my friend didn't spend every spare minute in her garden purely for pleasure. It takes every spare minute just to keep up with all the weeds. Not to mention battling slugs and crows. I'm fighting a losing battle against all the critters that have found my strawberries so appealing. And it's not enough just to turn on the sprinkler and water every day. Some days it needs more water than that. And watering the plants also makes the weeds grow so I have to spend more time digging those out.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against a little hard work. I just really don't enjoy working outside...in the dirt...with all the bugs. I've come to the conclusion that my kind of gardening is best suited to flowering shrubs surrounded by beauty bark. You pull a few weeds here and there, do a little pruning and water occasionally. Done. I'm not even against having nothing but grass and then all I have to do is mow.

And I can't say anything tastes better just because I grew it. I'd rather spend the money to buy organic from the grocery store than to have to live on the fruits of my labor. Someone needs to keep those farmers in business.

So far I think the idea of having a garden and growing my own fruits and vegetables is so much better than the reality! But really, isn't that the case with most things?

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