Monday, June 28, 2010

The Gardening Blues

I look over my pitiful plot and mumble a whispered apology to the unfortunate seedlings that will grow-up in such a weed choked and frightful piece of scorched earth. No doubt, they will suffer needlessly at the hands of an individual that once killed a cactus. It isn’t that I don’t attempt to care for the inhabitants of my small garden; it is simply that I lack the devotion of carrying out such necessary chores as fertilizing, watering, weeding and executing Japanese beetles and slugs. In fact, my entire position on gardening is a “hands off” approach. I figure that perhaps Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest” has a place in backyard horticulture. Any vegetable, that somehow miraculously manages to survive an entire growing season, is bound to be delicious and perhaps possessing of supernatural powers of healing and vitality.

I sigh, looking at the crooked rows, insect infestations, blight and barren patches of earth that mark the gardens of the inexperienced and those short on the asset of time. Standing with my bare feet in the grass, my toes are massaged by tickling blades. I bend down and grab a handful of weeds and give a good yank. The invader is torn from the plot and given a hardy shake, making it release its grasp on the nutritious soil. A few more extractions and I feel my body relaxing and the stress of the day melt away.

I suppose that it really isn’t necessary to be an expert gardener, to enjoy the experience of gardening. Perhaps growing organic veggies and healthful food from a backyard plot is secondary to the real benefits of hobby horticulture.  I wonder if the real benefits are tied to something more important and basic. Anyone can buy organic and healthy fruits and vegetables in a grocery store but where can you purchase happiness, peace and tranquility. Yes, I am sure there is a deep satisfaction in providing your own food but for some of us gardening is a little more.


  1. We down east are keeping it simple this year mate, looking at rows of sugar snap peas, beans, carrots, lettuce, green onion, celery, and some broccoli... a couple of upside down tomato plants and we should be dining well... I'll show you my good work a week from now when you arrive for the lobster transaction!!!

  2. What a freat description. When we got rolling, we took a very hands-off and "natural" approach. We certainly did not do very well for a bit, but we stuck with it. It is very therapeutic ... especially checking out what is growing well. Enjoy!

  3. <...a “hands off” approach. I figure that perhaps Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest” has a place in backyard horticulture.>

    That is very clever writing. This piece was very fun to read. Thanks for posting.

  4. DDH, I would be interested in hearing more about how your "upside down tomatoes" came out. I had thought about doing some and hanging them off the deck next year.

  5. DEM, This is my second year gardening since I was perhaps 10 years old. The plot of land where I have placed the garden needs a few additional years compost before it becomes "viable" for growing much other than weeds. However, what does manage to grow the kids love to pick or pull and eat fresh!


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