The March garden

This is my garden in its current state. You can see that it’s March 20 and the snow has yet to melt from my garden spot. It would not matter where I put my garden, the snow would melt there last. Please do not explain to me that I should move my garden. My husband suggested this one time, I burst into tears. He’s never suggested it since. As he’s moved the garden fence a couple of times you would think he’d be the one to burst into tears.

Please do not tell me how your garden is snowless and you’re planting peas already. Although spring has arrived on the calendar, spring has yet to arrived here and we do not expect spring to arrive until it does, which is not ever when we expect it. I shall in good faith begin seeds indoors and faithfully water them for the next four weeks. It shall be a source of daily delight as they grow, then I shall lose faith and my watering will become sporadic as time goes by. Only the strongest shall survive my drought of faith and see their new home in the garden.

Here is the rest of my garden. The important part, my noble aspirations, ideas and plans for this year. Surely this will be the year that my garden is a weed free paradise over flowing with tomatoes and melons and pumpkins and corn. Notice I didn’t mention zucchini squash, although in reality I will probably be, like the children of Israel in the desert, struggling to cope with an abundance of a good thing. Unlike tomatoes and melons and pumpkins and corn, I am guaranteed zucchini. The item my gardeners’ soul longs to have in abundance is not zucchini; it is the red, juicy, succulent, glorious tomato. Tomatoes are more or less tropical fruit to those of us who live on the 49th parallel. They are the item that proves or disproves your gardening skill. If you can’t grow tomatoes, you’re not a real gardener. Tomatoes are fundamental to my cooking. The idea of growing enough tomatoes to can and last through the year is enticing, exhausting and likely impossible. How many tomatoes does a family of six need? Multiply the number of cans of tomatoes used per month, by the number of ounces in a can, by the number of months in a year, divided by the number of ounces in a pound. [(12 x 28oz) x12] /16oz = 252 lb tomatoes. Two-hundred fifty-two pounds of tomatoes! Why do I treat my life as one big math problem? Why not just go blithely skipping down the garden path of innocence? How am I going to grow two-hundred fifty-two pounds of tomatoes?

If we have sunshine and fresh tomatoes, with these we shall be content. Last years tomato crop was pathetic. We didn’t even get our usual boxful of green tomatoes. The plants did poorly, half the tomatoes fell off the stems and the birds ate as many little red tomatoes as they could.

Gardening, it’s all about symbiosis, an awesome word and miraculous design. In the garden the birds are to eat all the weed seeds and bad nasty bugs, thus freeing me from the necessity of using any deadly methods of weed or insect control. Someone forgot to inform the birds of this, they obviously don’t read the same gardening books as the rest of us. This year when my cat follows her base carnivorous instincts and longs to eat poor innocent baby birds in their nest, you won’t catch me stopping her, nor will you catch me climbing any trees to return the clumsy, squawking creatures to the nest every time they fall out. I’ll just consider it a new dimension of symbiosis.

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