Clairee: Don't give all these to me.
Ouiser: Someone's gotta take 'em. I hate 'em. I try not to eat healthy food if I can possibly help it.
Annelle: Why do you grow them?
Ouiser: 'Cause I'm an old Southern woman and we're supposed to wear funny-lookin' hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt...Don't ask me those questions. I don't know why. I don't make the rules.
Except for the fact that I'm a Yankee, Ouiser (from Steel Magnolias) and I have a whole lot in common.
It may be freezing our faces off when we step outside today, but this is a busy time for gardeners. Every single day, our mailboxes are filled with seed and plant catalogs, and our brains are filled with dreams of the variety of beautiful fruits and delicious vegetables that we can grow in our own backyards. We gardeners are a delusional bunch. Similar to the experience of childbirth, we have forgotten the pain and sweat and cussing that went on the last time. We only remember the beauty of the finished fruits of our labor.
You, the I-want-to-plant-a-garden folks reading this, have any number of reasons for starting a garden yourself. Perhaps you just want to know where your food comes from. Maybe you are looking to save money at the grocery store. Some of you may be forward thinking and are planning for the zombie apocalypse. Whatever your reason, make sure you think long and hard about whether you have what it takes before planting those first seeds. Ask yourself these questions...
1. Do I really, really like wild animals?
If you plant it, they will come. Deer, chipmunks, rabbits...they all love a good garden. And it is darn near impossible to keep them out once they discover your plot. Unless you can say, "Rabbit, you cute little creature of God, You. Were you hungry? Having trouble finding food elsewhere? Well be my guest. You just eat up all of those green bean plants. I can always just get some beans at the store", don't plant a garden. You must be willing to accept the fact that you can be outsmarted by a deer.
2. Do I like staying home, passing up on any and all summer vacations?
It never fails. If you plan a trip to the beach, every one of your tomatoes will time their ripening to occur while you are supposed to be gone. Want to go hiking in the mountains? Your cucumbers will know, and they will all be gigantic and fit to burst by the time you get back. So much for making pickles. Take a long 4th of July weekend away and the weeds will take over your garden before you can say Oooh, let alone Aaah.
3. Am I OK living in a dirty house?
Between the weeding and the weeding and the weeding (Proven fact: Weeds grow 3,849 times faster than the plants you are trying to grow.) and the laying of grass clippings (organic garden, yo!), and then the picking and cooking and canning and freezing, there just isn't time to clean the house. None. Zero. Zilch. Your children will have to find clean underwear by digging through the mountain on the laundry couch. You won't be able to walk through the house without muttering, "What in the world did I just step in?" When a visitor stops by, you will have to distract her by handing her a bag of produce and taking her out to see where it grew.
4. Am I willing to work with both bees and bugs?
Working in the garden, you will come in contact with all manner of tiny creatures. Ants, slugs, mosquitoes, beetles, bees, and worms to name a few. Some bugs are good for your garden, so you can't just go in and kill them all. You have to be able to sit in your garden, listen to the bug sounds, watch a bee flit from bloom to bloom, and say, "Thank you, Little Bee!" You may even find yourself doing a cheer for said bee. Pol-i-nate! Pol-i-nate! High-pitched screaming and running when a bee enters the garden will not help a garden one iota.
5. Do I have any interest in being a weatherman?
Even if there is absolutely nothing she can do to change the effect it has, a gardener becomes obsessed with the weather. Too much rain, too little rain, record heat, frost warnings. So much to keep track of. Unless you are willing to give up one-fourth of your brain capacity to weather-related musings, rethink your garden ideas.
6. Am I concerned with the way that I look?
Gardening is a dirty job. You will have dirt under your nails the entire growing season. You will have to wear a hat to protect your skin, and with all the sweat you put out, the hat and your hair will not be pretty. Your back will have a permanent hunch from the hours you have spent bending over your plants. You will have clothes specifically for gardening, but at some point in the summer you will say "screw it" and wear them to the store. If you are a person who takes pride in always being put together, gardening will not make you happy.
How did you do? Do you have what it takes to be a true gardener, or have you already thrown the seed catalogs into the recycling bin?
If you have decided to give it a try, stay tuned. Next week I'll have a post with some tips on what to keep in mind when you are planning and planting.
Have a lovely day!
While freezing my face off this morning, I was talking to another mother about expanding our garden beds this year. The comparison to childbirth is perfect, even on for my tiny-scale gardening.ReplyDelete
So are you going to expand?? What will you add?? Or just plant more of what you already grow??Delete
I hope you are getting the bit of warmer weather we had today. My face stayed intact. :)
I admire gardeners because of the sheer time, effort and love it takes to grow something, anything. I have a black thumb, so if you ever want something to die, give it to me. I'm guaranteed to kill it in 3 days no matter how hard I try to cultivate it.ReplyDelete
That is the beauty of gardening! I kill every indoor plant, because it relies on my to water it. Outside, the plants get watered without me doing a darn thing. We don't water. Ever.Delete
Our first year of gardening, we made every newbie mistake a newbie can make. We ended up just giving up on it, letting the weeds take over. Many of the plants STILL produced. Surely you can grow something! :)
No, no, mostly no, ABSOLUTELY NO, no and no. Guess that solves that. :D Oh and...the seed catalogues would go directly into the recycle bin without even being looked at. ;) Good on you though!!!ReplyDelete
What? You don't think Riley would like keeping a garden all picture perfect? Or would he just keep telling you how much the garden needs weeding? That would be bad. :)Delete
Riley does not like to get his hands dirty about as much as I don't like bugs. So...no. :DDelete
These are all the reasons I go to the grocery store for my veggies. I'm not messing up my manicure for fresh veggies. I'm not running off the wild animals. I'm not messing with weeds, weeds and more weeds. I'm not swatting bees and other flying critters, and for Gods sake don't make me squat like that. I'm way too old.ReplyDelete
Very funny post.
Have a fabulous day. ☺
Very funny comment. :)
We've tried container gardening a time or two since we rent and our landlord won't allow us to plant in the yard. Unfortunately, watering gets forgotten or we overwater, or we just plain forget about the plants and the end result is always the same. Dead plants.ReplyDelete
Although we did manage to grow some radishes once, maybe we'll try again this year.
The watering...it's a problem. We don't water our garden. We let the rain take care of it. If the plants had to rely on me, we wouldn't even get one tomato.Delete
Radishes? What is the reason for choosing radishes? We don't eat them, seeing as how I don't know what a person does with a radish.
Yea, we tried letting the rain take care of it but we didn't get rain often enough for the containers.Delete
Radishes are actually my husband's favorite vegetable. He just eats them raw. Sometimes we add them to salads but then we have to dig around them to serve salad for Davis because he says they're too spicy.
I don't 'do' gardening of any sort at any time. I 'occasionally' cut the grass on my small lawn (when it gets so high that I can't see the dogs) and I 'occasionally' trim the hedges (when they are in danger of poking out the postman's eyes when he comes through the gate) other than that I have no interest in it at all.ReplyDelete
My ex used to have a great fruit and vegetable garden and grew some really tasty stuff - the strawberries were divine - but after several seasons of various things eating various other things he eventually gave it up and resorted to the supermarket. A shame really as there's definitely nothing better than home grown stuff.
There aren't many good things about our terrible farm dogs, but to their credit, they do keep most animals away. We've only had rabbits twice, and they didn't do too much damage.Delete
We are not good about yard work. Before we moved to the farm, we had a yard that was about 1/3 of an acre. Our neighbors knew we were getting ready to move, because we were actually getting the yard cleaned up. :)
Very true. The homegrown food is way better. I didn't know that until we moved here and started the garden. I don't know how I'll ever go back to the grocery store stuff.
My "farm dog" thinks the rabbits are his friends. We've got a long road ahead of us...Delete
I always like the idea of having a garden SO MUCH MORE than the reality ;)ReplyDelete
We do flowers, not vegetables except for a couple of fruit trees. But it is so exciting to eat food you have grown. It is totally a labor ( a lot of labor ) of love.ReplyDelete
You most certainly do "do flowers"!! That yard of yours is magnificent! Both types of gardens a labor of love, both bringing so much good to the world.Delete
This answers my questions about whether I really think I want to garden - the answer is no. Emphatically. Like Lizzi said, I think I like the idea of it far more than the reality. Bugs? No. Animals? No. Just no. Sigh. Also? We don't actually own any property - our townhome is technically a condo and the grassy stuff is community property. (I know...should've had that info BEFORE we bought.) What about container gardening? On our back deck? Any thoughts?ReplyDelete
I say go for it! The only difficulty I know of is the watering. You will have to water whatever you plant. We don't water our garden, but our plants usually do just fine because they send their roots deeper to find moisture. Container plants can't do that. Will you be the person who remembers to water them?Delete
Yes! Absolutely yes! You summed it up perfectly. I so miss playing in the dirt. There is something that both my body and soul are missing in this cold, dark, dreary time of year. The only thing that gets me through it are those catalogs that show up in the mail. And where are they??? I've only gotten one so far!ReplyDelete
ONE?!?!? Seriously?!?! We've gotten AT LEAST one every single day for weeks now!Delete
I do miss digging in the dirt. It is so satisfying to be out there. And calming. Oh so very calming. (Unless, of course, I have forced 6 kids out there to weed with me. Then not so much calming.) :)
The laundry couch!! I love it.ReplyDelete
I should probably get started on my plans for a tiny little plot this year... huh? Anybody have any tips for the "I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing" variety of gardener?
(I'd like green beans and peas. That's all I know.)