I’ll admit it. This year I just got disinterested in my garden. I’ve walked past it and avoided eye contact, my relationship with that plot of land fractured by laziness. It all started last fall when I started ignoring it and let it go to weeds- just couldn’t help it! It’s a lot of work!
This spring with the never ending shitty weather that saw one last wood burning stove event in my home on June 3rd, I just preferred to go inside. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to plant a garden ever, at all, this year.
Yet Im surrounded at work with these plants, and the thought of not planting a garden this year would be like a high crime and misdemeanor punishable by some sort of impeachment in my own mind (no impeachment of anyone unfortunately at the moment), so yesterday I reluctantly grabbed my stuff and started working.
I vowed to keep the plant selection fun. I’m planting fun stuff to eat, not like zucchini and eggplants that I usually give away and never really know how to cook or store anyway.
Yesterday, we planted corn, radishes, heirloom tomatoes, romaine lettuce, onions, and just after we finished, it rained pretty hard which I interpreted as a sign from Mother Nature that reaffirmed her approval of the entire endeavor- that I wasn’t alone in this work.
To those of you who scoff at my interpretations, I can only say this:
Holding a shovel for long periods of time then crawling around in the dirt sweating and constantly pulling one’s pants up as the dirt, sweat, and effort conspire against a soul, a certain amount of insanity ensues, with the mind wandering off into unchartered territory.
Im not responsible!
First step- spray roundup on the entire garden area. Let the weeds dry before getting in there to work. Once it’s dry it’s ok. Sure, I use roundup A LOT. Almost daily. The negative news you have heard about the jury awards is hyped up and scoffed at by professionals. Nobody can convince people in my business that a jury of twelve non-medical professionals/non-chemists can determine when and where an 80 year old man got his cancer. Nobody can determine that. Your car exhaust emits dozens of cancer causing chemicals. Don’t worry about using roundup. Just follow the directions!
Step two- plant tomato plants six feet apart (lesson learned from last year when they were way way way too close).
Step three plant a row of radish and onions.
Corn at the end and romaine lettuce inbetween the tomato plants. They are a short crop and can coexist between the tall tomatoes. In a month all the lettuce will be eaten and something else will be in its place.
The entire sweaty time we were planting, there was a cat bird gossiping on the top of a mt. Laurel bush at the top of it’s voice for all to hear. It’s song was voiciferous and lengthy and non-stop. Whatever had happened in this lonely bird’s life must have been upsetting because of the loud and varied inflections in it’s song was striking.
I have noticed that this week the bird songs are at peak intensity and volume, starting at 4-4:15 am and going on until after sundown which is late this time of year.
Its all related I think; gardening and nature. Yeah, you gotta trudge up to the garden to toil for your own betterment, but whilst toiling one is surrounded not by news/current events/technology/man made distractions, but by Mother Nature in all her glory. Birds, sun rays intensifying the inherent beauty of plants, the soft feel of warm soil in one’s fingers not to mention the smells of life in the summertime air are hard not to notice.
Roses have more flowers coming also. They’ll flower all summer for kitchen table fragrance whilst I chomp on food from the garden.
David Benjamin- horticulture degree North Carolina State University graduated 1983, has worked at the nursery since 1976. Somewhat tired of eating grocery store food.