We’ve been down this road before.
I bought lights. Mr. Suburble built shelves and raised beds. I sprinkled bone meal and tucked leaves through the metal of tomato cages.
The zucchinis grew and the carrots didn’t. The tomatoes got blight because I didn’t know what I was doing. I had so many cucumbers that I was giving them to anyone I saw.
And then we moved. And those beds stayed behind.
This year, we started again. The girls and I diligently put dirt into pots and then tucked little seeds into the soil. I ordered organic seeds and wouldn’t agree to moss killer on the grass.
Mr. Suburble rolled his eyes at me. “You want the moss to come back then?”
I don’t know. Not enough to warrant anything called a “killer” being sprinkled on the grass.
And then today, I came outside to water my plants in their little plastic greenhouse, and saw that they had had a visitor.
Most likely a cat – but it could also have been one of the Giant Squirrels that live in our neighbourhood – had upset the structure. The greenhouse had groaned, and then leaned forward; my precious seedlings were lying in a heap on the ground.
This is the crappy cell phone picture I snapped after I had cleaned (and sighed) over the mounds of dirt and little seedlings that were heaped up in front of this sight. I send it to Mr. Suburble with the text: “Can you BELIEVE this!?!?”
Mr. Suburble texted the fairly-standard husband reply, “Oh babe, that sucks.”
Thanks, darling. But that didn’t make me feel better. It was too late.
I had gardener-rage.
Is that a thing? Or am I the only one? I was beyond frustrated with the ghost-cat or rogue wind that had knocked my “greenhouse” over. I wanted to grab a shovel, or a rake, or a wheelbarrow and fling it across the yard (but I didn’t, don’t worry). I looked at my little seedlings peeking out of piles of dirt and felt…
Had this just undone all of the work I had put into my little garden-to-be?
After I had cleaned everything up, sent a few more “OMGI’MGOINGTOTHROWTHISTHINGINTOTHESTREET” texts to Mr. Suburble and stomped into the house, I did my best “Namaste yourself, sister” self-talk.
I reminded myself to chill out. It’s only dirt. It’s going to be fine.
And before you raise your eyebrow and say, “So you’re good at everything, then?” – That’s not what I mean.
I mean, I try something, and if I’m good at it, I keep doing it. If I’m bad at it, I throw it over my shoulder and say, “Peace out. Don’t need to learn how to do this anyways.”
Hence, I can’t ice skate. Or decorate a cake.
Gardening is something that doesn’t come naturally to me. I tried to let my instinct guide me this Spring and I pretty much all-but-destroyed the raspberry bushes. Now I use the internet, books and my mother.
Even though I’m not exactly sporting a green thumb, I desperately want to be good at gardening. I want to grow food for my kids. I want to teach my kids how to grow their own food. I want to get all Ghandi-esque and “be the change”, etc, etc.
In my warped, taken-from-Country-Living daydreams, I wear a maxi skirt and a denim shirt, and I carry a basket laden with beautiful, amazingly-all-ripe-at-the-same-time bounty from the garden into the kitchen to feed my family. My children happily eat cucumbers and carrots and corn salad with gusto. Mr. Suburble exclaims, “I love chives!”
And while that is the stuff of dreams and possibly a bit of denial – and also, I’m going to need to get a maxi skirt – I’m going to keep trying.
This is Lucy’s plant. She grew it when I wasn’t looking. For Christmas, my mom gave her a gardening bag filled with gloves, a shovel and a cultivator, along with a few packets of seeds.
Lucy was playing in the backyard and decided to have herself a little planting party. We discovered this sprout about a week later, just sitting in a pot near the garden.
We brought it inside and Lucy immediately drew a picture of herself onto a piece of paper and glued it to a popsicle stick. She put it in her plant pot and said, “This is so my plant isn’t lonely. I’ll always be with my plant.”
That paper Lucy is still with the seedling, even though it’s been transplanted to a bigger pot, and is just weeks from living outside. She asks how her seed is doing nearly every day.
I may not be good at gardening, but I might be raising little people who are.