I’m gardening again, because I love it so much, or at least that what my wife says. She says I don’t like it as much as cooking, cleaning the house or doing laundry, but it’s certainly one of my favorite hobbies—sadly, she tells me fishing and watching sports on TV didn’t even make the list. I would have thought they would at least be in the top ten, but you can’t argue with the facts.
I garden, of course, for the unfathomable joy of knowing I’m keeping millions of helpless little bugs from starving to death. Every night I go to sleep secure with the knowledge that no tomato hornworm, potato beetle or squash vine borer will go to bed hungry if I have anything to say about it.
My first attempt at growing something was back in South Dakota when I was young. My mother let me plant some seeds in our small garden. During the night an older neighbor boy dug a marigold out of his mother’s flower garden and planted it where I had planted the seeds. The next day I was amazed and proud of my gardening prowess. It didn’t occur to me that a seed doesn’t just become full grown overnight … or that I had planted radish seeds. I’m not always the sharpest tack in the box. Sometimes I’m not even a tack, and often I can’t find the darn box. If ignorance is bliss, than blatant stupidity is euphoria. I don’t think I was ever more depressed than when they finally revealed the trick to me.
I think my gardening ability is inherited. It’s in my genes. My grandmother had an amazing green thumb—I think it was the result of an untreated infection—and she was also good at growing things, even with the thumb. I tend to exaggerate in this blog at times, but I swear I can remember my grandmother growing tomatoes so big that I couldn’t hold them in one hand, beets so large they were bigger than both my fists put together, pumpkins that came up to my waist and watermelons so heavy I couldn’t lift them by myself. No joke, that is the absolute truth—although now that I think about it, I was only about three or four years-old at the time … so maybe it isn’t as impressive as I originally thought.
With gardening it’s like Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, “It’s always something.” If it isn’t the bugs eating everything, it’s not enough rain or the weeds taking over. My grandmother always said weeds were good things because they shaded the plants from the hot sun. I guess there is some deep meaning to that, but I’ve never been able to figure it out.
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