I have planted an approximately 10x25 square foot vegetable garden for the past dozen years. Every year I get an excited thrill to plan and plant. I envision straight rows of beans, lettuce, and onions. Even the zucchini will stay in tidy bunches and not dare to thread its tendrils into the surrounding yard. The plants will strain under the weight of the vegetables.
This has never actually happened. My good intentions never quite make it to follow-through.
I like the idea of gardening. I actually enjoy weeding (when its not too hot, too mosquito-y or too wet). I like the gardening lingo. Just saying, "crop, yield" and even "noxious weed" gives me a giddy little high. I like telling people how my lettuce is coming in and how the rabbits got to my peas. But I'm really a gardening poser.
In spring, the empty garden, recently tilled and smelling like clean, fresh dirt calls to me the same way new notebooks hold the promise of perfect answers and essays at the beginning of the school year. There are no mistakes yet and the possibility for greatness is in my grasp.
However, life creeps into my well-intentioned plans. And the big secret to gardening is the need for consistency. Weeding, no matter how enthusiastically done, can't save the plants that have been choked out weeks earlier. Its not so helpful for me to douse my shriveled plants after they have turned crisp from neglect.
So, last night I gave the garden a much needed weeding. I did this not because I had much hope of salvaging more than the sturdy vines of zucchini and acorn squash, but because some friends will be visiting and I want to give the impression that I have everything under control. The overgrowth of my garden plot did not convey anything other than disheveled chaos.
The garden was worse than I thought. I didn't even have any stinkin' green onions this year. How can a person kill green onions?
I did have some grass longer than my forearm and some type of plant that spreads with runners and has overtaken everything. Imagine Creeping Charlie's taller, obnoxious cousin. The kind that thinks he's so cool and offers to buy the alcohol. Somehow a plant mullet creeps into my head. I realize that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but my formative years were shaped by the 80s. Cut me some slack.
So I pulled the mullet weeds till my hands were like claws, mosquitoes had drunk their fill and abandoned me, and sweat dripped off my forehead to water my sad little plants.
Why do I continue with this charade year after year? Its like a compulsive gambler sure the big payoff is right around the corner. This may not be my year, but I can see my garden next year. The tomatoes are hanging low on the vine and let me tell you about those beans...