Thursday, June 25, 2009


Yesterday thinning out the carrot patch turned into a very exciting harvest and healthy snack time. Moses was increasingly thrilled with each little uprooting. So was his mommy. This harvest is so much more than a bunch of free carrots - it is victory over the outside world.

We've lived here for 9 years (!) and every single year I have planted a garden. Every single year my garden has been thwarted by nature. One would think that a farm would be the perfect place to grow things, but it seems that the "outside world" is just too uncontrolled up here. Bunnies hop through, birds dig up seeds before they even sprout, gophers literally pull entire plants below ground, random freezing weather kills early shoots, stupid dogs poop on things...

Before this year, my most successful garden was last year's "anger garden." Seven years of frustrated efforts had made me absolutely determined to grow my own produce. I had Brett reinforce the beds with gopher wire under the compost and sprouted all my seeds indoors until they were way too big to fit in their tiny containers. Then I transplanted them. And they got eaten. Overnight. All of them. I immediately planted more seeds in my sprouting pots - I had sort of expected a failed first attempt, but this time I was going to beat nature. When the second batch was ready, I transplanted my precious seedlings, placed a "beer trap" for the snails (didn't work, so I won't go into details), and allowed my dad to spread some sort of granular poison around the outside of the plant beds to deter other pests (who cared if the produce itself became toxic - I just wanted it to grow). The next morning the plants were all gone. I briefly considered placing some sort of hidden video camera in a nearby bush to figure out what was going wrong. Was someone playing a practical joke on me? Was there a rabbit hiding in the underbrush laughing at me?

Beginning to lose hope (and experiencing a sense of urgency as the first waves of pregnancy nausea began to wash over me), I planted almost all of my remaining seeds in the sprouting pots, waited, watered, fumed, transplanted, and, you guessed it. They were gone within 24 hours. In a rage I stood over my stupid empty garden beds and hurled the crumpled up OSH bag containing the remaining seeds into the dirt. After uttering a few choice phrases, I stormed into the house, lay down on the couch, and stayed there for 3 months choking down saltines as I (and the rest of my family) survived the dreaded first trimester.

When the fog of sickness began to clear, I dragged my pasty body outdoors and discovered, with some confusion, that those few seeds I had dashed to the ground in despair had sprouted. One measley tomato plant was straggling out of the earth next to a solitary onion. Around the outside of one of the beds was a bunch of cilantro and two lettuce plants. One the other side of the fence a stoic corn stalk was sprouting out of the sand box. It seemed that my fourth "attempt" at planting a garden had worked - all the seeds needed were a good dose of rage and a healthy serving of neglect. I deemed it my anger garden and I loved it - our tomatoes weren't ripe until November and there was only enough remaining produce for one salad, but the victory was sweet.

So imagine my glee this year when I go outside every day and am surrounded by successfully growing vegetables. We put wire over and under every single seed and sprout. I planted 4 times more seeds than I even expected to grow. I replanted seeds as fast as the animals dragged them off, and it seems that this year they finally gave up. I finally beat the outside world, and I plan on eating salad every day to celebrate. Yes.


Jen Mc. said...

Two more amazing posts! I can see you churning out the full chapter book in your head! :)

Mandy and Seth said...

haha! it seems like the best plants grow from tossed seeds for some reason. that irritates me to no end! ps. we totally have a mole or gopher problem all of a sudden! ak!