–By Rene Tyson–
The first tomato plant I ever planted was my first summer as a newlywed. It was in a big pot on my back porch. The darn thing was gorgeous! It had bright green luscious leaves, five feet tall, beautiful flowers and ZERO fruit. Yep. That’s how I figured out that sun is important. It was also the first time I heard my husband Bryan say:
“That’s why God made grocery stores,” has become a joke around my house. But no matter how pathetic my efforts turn out, I get this weird craving each spring to grow a garden! It’s like a disease and I truly can’t explain it. I don’t come from a gardening family but somehow I got bit by the bug. Last year (for the umpteenth time), I tried to talk myself out of starting a garden. I logically explained to myself that I was spending more time and money on creating a garden then I would actually spend on vegetables from the store, but alas, I am sick. The bug refused to die. So I came up with this solution:
That was a good solution, but at the last minute I threw a bunch of tomato seeds in the ground just in case they felt like growing.
My Dahlias were beautiful.
I got 5 tomatoes. From 20 plants.
THAT’s IT! It’s Over!
Later that same year in the fall, my book club read, The Orchid Thief. (I am convinced the author wrote it to punish humanity. Truly, if you need a book to help you sleep –that’s the one.) My darling friend Patricia brought each of us a baby orchid for a present in honor of the book. I had learned all about orchids from the book and guess what?! My orchid lived! Yes, it’s a flower and not a vegetable, but hope sprang anew and I thought, “See! I don’t always kill stuff!” AND I took snippets from Patricia’s garden and rooted them. They didn’t die either! The next time I went to the grocery store, I bought more seeds. Just in case.
Then there is Kate. In March she popped in with piles of seeds. “What seeds do you have, Rene? Here I have some for you!” We traded seeds. We looked like kids who trade Pokemon cards–oohing and awing over our potential vegetables this summer. “LOOK! I got rainbow beets!” “Look! I got rainbow carrots!” giggle giggle. Pathetic. And…here are the results of that evening:
This year I began to live a philosophy that I have held for a long time but haven’t always acted upon: God gave me freedom to create the life I want. I want a garden and there is nothing wrong with admitting it. So I have decided to educate myself in how to garden properly but more importantly, I have stopped berating myself for trying. It’s just a garden for Pete’s sake. If nothing grows, so what? I am having fun trying! Besides, the garden is awfully pretty just as it is today. I like pretty things.
I have a feeling this year will be different. I talked to my…ahem…’babies’ as they grew in their trays. And they grew! Kate and I just transplanted them into the ground so if the slugs don’t take over, I might have SWISS CHARD for the first time!
I also planted flowers.
(tomato pics found at: vegetablegardener.com, Daliah pics found at: www.shzongyue.com)