I Am Not A Gardener, But I’m Going To Try!


I’m going to garden something.

Not now, of course. Later. Maybe in the spring when the seed catalogs come out.

Of course, I have never gardened before, but my new summer cottage came with a garden, which the neighbors are still raving about, even though it is now nothing more than a brown pile of overgrown something-or-others.

The previous cottage owner, now deceased (and hopefully not due to a gardening tragedy), evidently devoted a lot of time to this now-overgrown patch, and I intend to revitalize it in her honor — to some degree, at least.

Here’s what I want to plant — tomatoes, beans, carrots, rhubarb and corn on the cob. I have chosen those five things because those are the only garden-dwelling things that I will eat. I will also eat chives, but I think I can put a Chia Pet on my windowsill to get those.

My plan for tomatoes is to grow some baseball-sized ones and some golfball-sized ones. That’s for diversity. My plan for beans is green string beans. There are really no other kinds. The beans used in baked beans are, to my mind, legumes, and legumes have no business calling themselves beans.

Carrots are good for the eyes, so I plan to eat enough carrots to get back the vision I had when I was 10. I figure two dozen ought to do it. I hear rhubarb takes several years to really get going, so I am planting that as insurance. Next September, if nothing at all has come up in the entire garden, I can tell myself, “Well, the rhubarb is still working at it. Maybe next year.”

And corn on the cob is just plain good eatin’. I could plant the kernel kind that comes in a can, but I want the ones with cobs. More fun. And I’ll get a Chia Pet for my herb garden of chives.

A lot of old people have gardens, and I always figured it was because they wanted something to outlast them — a legacy. Now I know it’s because they’re the only ones who have time for weeding.

I’m not looking forward to weeding, frankly. I don’t know what sprouting vegetables look like, so it stands to reason that I don’t know what sprouting weeds look like, either. From what I’ve heard, the things that are hard to pull out of the ground are weeds. The things that pop out easily are vegetables. I plant to put them back and pat them on their little heads and say sorry.

Another thing I am not looking forward to is “harvest time.” It sounds like everything is ready to pick at once! So you do nothing but weed for months, salivating for just a mere bean to nibble on and — nothing? Then, when you least expect it, you have such an overabundance of vegetables that you have to pawn some off on the neighbors? What kind of scheduling is that? Although it does explain Thanksgiving…

Pilgrim #1: What are we going to do with all this stuff?

Pilgrim #2: Well, the Indians got us into this mess by showing us how to plant maize. Invite them over.

Pilgrim #1: Great idea! We’ll tell them it’s a holiday.

Pilgrim #2: Then when they trust us, we’ll take all their land.

Pilgrim #1: I like it!

When I have my garden, I’m not sharing my harvest with anybody. It’s not that I don’t want to be neighborly; I just don’t want them thinking I’m buttering them up to take their land.