Thoughts come and thoughts go—an almost continuous stream of consciousness and semi-lucidity.
I think of what I would tell someone who wanted to plant a vegetable garden—prepare to weed and then weed some more because there will be weeds. One day they will be small as you check your garden’s progress but then it rains and you get busy with something else in your life and before you know it the weeds are bigger than the beans and as you begin to pull them up—thinking all along about the end result: the harvest—the weeds come out of the ground with big hunks of soil attached and you shake the dirt off into the row and continue to pull the weeds between the beans knowing full well that there won’t be any to eat this winter if you don’t make it to the end.
Gardening is a young peoples job but seems to be done mostly by older people—persons of dedication and worldly insight and tough hands and stiff backs.
What would I tell a person who wanted to start a garden—prepare the soil well and plan to weed—the earlier the better—even before it seems like it needs it because weeds are trickly—almost like they have a mind of their own. They wait until you are busy and not paying much attention to your garden and then they sprout for all they are worth in a mad dash attempt to overtake everything that you had planned or should I say planted. Weeds are a part of the life of a garden—if you can’t deal with the weeds you won’t enjoy gardening at all.
If you are planning on planting a garden you better like to bend over because you will be doing a lot of that. You will bend over to put in the stakes that hold the string to keep the rows straight—because straight rows make it easier to see where the seeds need to go and later on where the little plants will fight with the weeds for a life of their own. You will bend over to rake and to hoe and scatter lime and fertilizer into the soil where the rows have been marked with the twine tied to the stakes.
But the end result of all that bending and weeding and watering when the rain doesn’t come on its own is to taste the almost other-worldly like freshness of the peas and corn and tomatoes and potatoes.
So remember to keep the tarp on the tiller because it will rain when you least expect it to and keep your tools handy because it takes a lot of tools to have a good garden—the rake and the fork and the hoe just to name a few.
To be a gardener you have to like tools and what they can do for you—without them it is just you and your bare hands and clumps of soil that don’t want to do anything at all except stay right where they are.
That’s what I would begin to tell someone who told me they wanted to have a garden: it is something you start but rarely ever finish—a garden does that all on its own.
reminds me of why I gave it up years ago. Thanks to you and others like you, who keep up that essential work.C