THE SONIC BOOMER
So it’s mid-June and, all around me, my neighbor’s gardens are filled with plants racing madly toward the sun. You just know that someday soon, they are going to burst forth into bud or bloom or some kind of vegetable.
Conversely, my garden is much as I left it on May 6.
But I have an excuse! I’m busy.
I mean, in addition to slowly remodeling this house, I watch my grandchildren many hours a week, write for a newspaper and a magazine, buy inventory for my store (which is located 1,500 miles away) and try to go to the dentist twice a year. I’m not trying to make feeble excuses here.
Yet I thought I would have time for something as simple as a garden. I started out full of enthusiasm. I turned it over one weekend; weeded and raked the soil flat the next. But then I needed to bring my trailerful of inventory to the store, so I was gone for 10 days. When I got back, the weeds were riotously happy, having thrived in the newly turned, fertile soil I had left for them.
But I was determined. I bought four leggy, partially-grown tomato plants at a yard sale and attempted to put them in the ground today. The seller said each plant needed a hole 3 feet in diameter, and the seller’s wife said to tie them to the perimeter fence. But I asked myself, “What’s the point in digging half a hole behind the fence?” So I dug a 2-foot-by-6-foot trench in front of the fence instead. Same square footage, I figured.
Then I took three of the plants out of their little square containers and plopped them into the dirt. I had lost the fourth. When I heard the sound of a stem breaking underneath my shoe, I realized that I had buried it underneath the dirt I had shoveled out. I picked it up, and it drooped sadly. A little green sphere (possibly a tomato, possibly a large bug) dropped to the ground and rolled away. I put the thing in the trench anyway and threw some Miracle-Gro in with it as a peace offering.
“It’ll be a Miracle if you Gro,” I told it, in apology, and I wove a couple of its leaves through the fence. I did pour a bucket of water on each plant and meant to give them more, but it was hot out there, so I went inside.
Next week I’m going to visit my parents in Wisconsin, so it’s going to be “survival of the fittest” out there. I know this is not the best attitude for a gardener to have, but I really am busy. They’re going to have to solve their own problems. No water unless it rains. No fertilizer unless they drive to Lowe’s and buy it themselves.
Tomato or weed, may the best plant win.