The garden that wasn’t to be

by DaniGirl on August 16, 2011 · 6 comments

in Happy @ home, Life, the Universe and Everything

In the dark, cold days of January, I wrote this ridiculously optimistic list of things that I couldn’t wait to do this summer, and at the top of that list was a garden. I’d imagined tilling up a meter or two of grass (we can certainly spare it) to put in a little kitchen garden. As winter melted into spring, I watched the light travel across the yard, carefully selecting the spot that would get the most sun exposure. By this time of year, I’d speculated back in the deep cold of January, we’d be heading out to the yard before dinner to pluck our own carrots, harvest juicy tomatoes, and slice fresh-from-the-vine cucumbers into our evening salad. My mouth still waters when I think about it.

The idea of the tilled square of garden fell by the wayside early in May when I realized that the vast majority of my spare spring hours were to be spent taming the rampant growth of the lawn. As the torrential spring rains gave way to a warm, dry summer, I adjusted my expectations accordingly. I’d clear space in the existing beds for some tomatoes and cukes, and maybe next year I’d have more time to cultivate the verdant kitchen garden of my dreams.

With expectations appropriately tempered, so far this year I have planted:

  • two cherry tomato plants
  • one beefsteak tomato plant
  • three cucumber plants
  • one green pepper plant
  • one jalapeno plant
  • two packages of sunflower seeds
  • one package of pink coneflower seeds
  • two potted pink coneflower plants
  • one potted black-eyed susan

As of today, we have harvested exactly one jalapeno pepper. There is one malformed yellowish cucumber the size of a pickle trying to turn itself into a doughnut shape. The sunflower seeds, including one seedling we sprouted in the house in a pot, never made it beyond two inches tall. The coneflower seeds were absorbed by mother earth never to be seen again. Not one but TWO potted coneflower plants turned black and shrivelled up for no reason I could see except that I completely forgot to water them. And I accidentally snapped the stalks of the poor black-eyed susans as I was planting them. I guess now they’re black-and-blue-eyed susans. And the tomato plants are still the exact same size they were when I planted them in May. They have neither died nor grown, but exist in a perpetually frozen flowering state.

I mean seriously, who can’t grow sunflowers and tomatoes? Now when I go to the garden centre, I can see the plants leaning back, scurrying into corners, trying to hide from my sight. “Please, lady, don’t choose us! We want to LIVE!” Hell, even the produce in the grocery store trembles on my approach, so far-reaching is my reputation for plant-based cruelty.

Did I mention I also failed to sustain the potted basil plant I bought in mid-summer when I discovered tomato-basil-bocconcini salad? We had two great salads within the first week, then the plant withered up and died — and I even remembered to water that one!

Clearly, my entire allotment of nurturing has been expended in the effort of sustaining three boys, two pets and a Beloved. It’s a good thing they’re almost old enough to be self-sustaining!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 meanie August 16, 2011 at 11:27 am

you need to post a picture of that poor little cucumber.

2 Coco August 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Let the boys take care of the garden next year. Benign neglect will work wonders.

3 Anonymous August 18, 2011 at 6:39 pm

So relieved I’m not the only one who failed at veggie growing this year. My eight tomatoes on the vine have been the same size and shade of green for 2 weeks. And I won’t even mention the basil…

4 hannamay August 19, 2011 at 9:46 am

Let the boy have a chance to take good care of those plants…

5 Amanda August 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Never mind! Our ‘garden’ is full of weeds – they look healthy and fab BTW – and the cosmos I grew from seed took one look at the surrounding area and I *think* headed underground. And it all seemed so picture perfect in the depths of a February cold snap….

6 Gennie J. August 24, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Great to know you started these plants on your garden. It would really be an awesome experience if these babies are full grown, you can see your efforts to bloom just as you started planting them.

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