Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My Garden Gate

I love to garden. Actually, I love to garden in the spring and early summer, when planting three kinds of beets makes sense, when every tomato plant is going to yield perfect, HUGE, juicy tomatoes, before the heat, too much rain, not enough rain, slugs, beetles, raccoons and (insert horror movie music and maybe a woman’s scream here) Blight.

Two years ago, my husband got the tomatoes in for me. I had purchased the plants right before Dad’s surgery and then everything went awry. Poetically, Blight hit our area that summer so the few tomatoes harvested were not that great and had the same results last year. Dad was a master gardener and Tomato Whisperer. His tomatoes were the most prolific, the largest and the most delicious. These are not the words of an adoring daughter; these are words one jealous gardener reluctantly says of another. I think my brother Charlie also has this innate gift that I so desperately want but alas, while I can get some results, they are meager when stacked against Dad’s. But still I try.

But THIS year dear friends, this year the newspapers are going to come to take photos, there will be an abundance of produce, so much that I’m going to give away the overflow. There will be a table at the end of the driveway, with a sign, that says "Free for the Taking"; beneath that table will be boxes of the overflow, so much will my garden give me! I am going to be a one woman answer to world hunger! OK. Now I have woken from this beautiful dream that I dream daily while looking at the 20 inch tomato plants, the seedlings emerging from this newly tilled soil, the shoots from the potatoes.

But this delusion is not all my fault. It is my husband’s fault.

Back in March or April when the snow began to melt, I realized that my darling Rex had acquired the habit of really stamping through this area so I thought I needed to buy one of those jam in the ground premade fences. Chuck and I went to Home Depot and he looked at the cheap fence and said he could do better and boy did he. He hand milled every picket, every post; the design came from him, no pattern or directions, tripling the amount of space I have to plant in. As it took shape the delusions of gardener became more fixated.

So, come August and September, it is my hope to get at least 1 ear of corn (2 varieties but I will be happy with a single well formed ear) and enough tomatoes (13 plants, 8 varieties). For good measure I also planted 3 kinds of potatoes, acorn squash, butternut squash, white turnips, the aforementioned beets, 3 kinds of sweet peas, 3 kinds of green beans, 2 varieties of cantaloupe, 2 kinds of peppers, eggplant, horseradish, many herbs, lettuces, chard, and spinach. While I may not have Dad’s talent, I did get some of his enthusiasm.

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