I woke up at 4:00 a.m. (a couple hours earlier than normal) and couldn’t go back to sleep. Spent a solid hour cleaning in the kitchen, and despite just having coffee, I still feel not fully awake.
Last year, I really pushed for us to have a garden again. We live where animals will clean your garden’s clock, so I needed help with fence repair. It had been quite a few years since the last garden, so the garden area needed serious tilling. I talked to my husband about it (multiple times), and his responses were what I typically get to almost anything (yes, almost anything).
A brief hesitant look, staring through or past me somehow, as though he’s confused and puzzling something out, and then something negative or invalidating in response. I’m so used to it after all these years. He’ll ask a question with a slight condescending tone, as though I don’t know what I’m talking about. Sometimes he’ll just immediately negate what I said with not so subtle pomposity. (If that isn’t a word, it should be.)
I realized last year that he wasn’t exactly enthused or on board with the garden, but since we try to eat as much organic produce as possible, I made the argument that it would save us a bit of money. I’d wait awhile, then broach the subject again. I also said that most people used to know how to grow their own food in a garden, but nowadays most people are clueless. We didn’t know nearly as much as we should, and I predicted a learning curve. My last argument was that it was better to learn to garden now when we could afford to make mistakes, and not when our nutritional needs depended on it.
Once our neighbor agreed to use his small tractor for the tilling, the fence repair slowly – sllllooowwwwlllyyy – got underway. He argued about putting things in too early, he repeatedly argued, and then we got some stuff in too late.
This is still last year I’m writing about…
One thing I did to make a garden affordable was to start seeds indoors ahead of time. I’d never done that before! He helped by hanging up some lights above tables to help with germination and growth. Once the plants germinated, I spent hours potting them up. Then came the hardening off to get them ready to transplant in the garden etc. It was a new venture for me, but I was pretty excited about it.
He helped keep things watered, and carrying flats of plants in and out to harden them. I expressed daily appreciation.
I was really excited about the cosmos and lavender that I started from seed. I hadn’t had flowers in my yard for years, because I could never afford to buy the plants from a nursery. Even buying the seeds, pots, and soil to start veggies was tight for our budget, but I felt it was reasonable to add cosmos and lavender to the mix. I potted them up with great excitement, thinking of where all I wanted to plant them.
Oh, he helped, but there was delay and last minute and getting things in late. This meant bad timing with planting, losing leggy transplants and getting seeds in the ground late. Despite all that, I managed to get kids involved with helping (at least some), and we had some wild success and some failure; in other words, the learning curve I expected. The fresh corn was fantastic, the tomatoes were like a jungle disaster that never ripened, but the lettuce, kale, green peppers, and cucumbers gave the best salads ever. We had zucchini mini pizzas, and we ate off the buttercup squash for a few months into fall and winter. I considered it overall a success.
Except my poor flowers. Last summer, I dislocated a bone in my foot while I was swimming. Eventually I saw a doctor, and he said I had to keep it iced and elevated and stay off of it. It took weeks to treat and heal. This happened when only my flowers were left to get planted. Can you guess what happened? Yep, he let them all die. About two flats of lavender, and two flats of cosmos. He just didn’t bother with them at all, even though he knew how much I wanted them. By the time I could hobble out there on my swollen, discolored foot, they were too withered to revive. Except for two bitty lavenders, that actually survived through the entire winter in their bitty pots, and he thought it was so funny they survived that he stuck them in a bigger pot this spring. Every time he jokes about those two lavender plants, I want to run at him and shake him.