Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Where the Wild Things Grow

It's been hiding in my backyard for awhile now. I don't let friends, family or guests go back there for fear they will either judge me or get lost forever in the jungle of foliage.

I love my garden, but you'd never be able to tell. Actually, I love the thought of my garden. I love the thought of strolling through the perfect rows, not a weed in sight, while sipping my coffee on early, dewy mornings. I bend over occasionally to check the status of a budding tomato or infant squash. As I make my way back through the lush, productive vegetation I pluck off ripe and ready fruits with glorious summer recipes in mind. I am wearing a summer dress. I am barefoot.  

(the haze around the edge of the screen slowly disappears and the sounds of wind chimes dissipate in the background)

I have weeds. The poky kind and the tall kind. I have to wear combat boots to get to the corn, which is infested with grasshoppers, and the broccoli, which has lace-like leaves. I'm pretty sure they aren't supposed to be that way. My herb garden, while producing, shares much of it's space with ants and, of course, weeds.

So here I am, confessing my green thumb sins and wiping the slate clean.

Green Thumb Sin #1: Believing I had a green thumb
Okay. I never really thought I had a green thumb, but, like many of things I've wanted in life, I thought I could change the parts that were never really in my control anyway. I scoff at people who buy all the latest scrap booking, stamping, photography paraphernalia, who sign up for an entire year's worth of subscriptions and classes on the subject, who start off so strong and who have nothing to show for it all, but a closet full of hobby and a half-finished memory book you can't even open because the pages stick together from the glue.

I am that person.

Green Thumb Sin #2: Being a time-whore
There are things you must devote your time to and then there are things you choose to devote your time to. I must devote my time to my son, my job, my relationships, my animals, my business, my sleep. These things leave roughly -5 (as in "negative five") hours for me to devote my chosen time to- things like recreational activities, facebook (she says sheepishly), my blog, community activities, vacation, yoga, my garden. Of course, I fit some of these activities in, but they are on a priority only basis. Sadly, facebook is easier than gardening at the end of a long day. (she says even more sheepishly)

Green Thumb Sin #3: Doing it the hard way
I wanted organic. I didn't own a hoe. I have an 18 month old child who has an uncontrollable attraction to tractors. The tractor is on the opposite side of the farm from the garden. Going on vacation for a week (or a weekend) is not good for gardens.
I like to think these were hurdles that kept me from my dream garden, but reading back over them I know they are just excuses. I mean, they really did hinder my efforts toward a bountiful harvest as going organic means pulling more weeds,means necessity for a hoe, means more time spent in the garden,  means chasing Jackson down the driveway toward the "tracka", means no time for vacations anyway. But deep down I know that if my garden was a priority then these would not have been hurdles.

Green Thumb Sin #4: Expectation of inheritance
You should see my mom's garden. Strategically placed Sunflowers and a white fence frame fruit trees and perfect rows of lush vegetables. When I call her house before 8pm in the summers I don't expect her to answer because I know she's out in the garden.
My fault is in thinking some of this would be passed on to me- that somehow because we share the same kind of knees that we would also share the same kind of thumbs... the green kind.
Also, my dad is a farmer. 'Nuff said.
I know I committed more than four green thumb transgressions. However, I feel I have been forgiven because there is a farmers market in my front yard every Friday. Thank the garden gods...

There are two roads I can take from here. I can forever be a one-tomato-plant-in-a-pot kind of girl and never try to plant a garden again- solely relying on the talents of those around me, or, I can try again next year and probably fail, but be one lesson learned closer to the sun shining on my shoulders as I bend over and pluck my first successful cucumber from its leafy bed on the ground. I will be wearing a summer dress. I will be barefoot. I will use Preen.  

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