I hated gardening when I was a kid. Back in the late 70′s and early 80′s it was really pushed by the church to have a garden so my parents took their gardening duties pretty seriously. They built this HUGE garden box in our backyard and made the family work in it every summer. We spent hours every Saturday morning plucking the bizillions of weeds that seemed to grow there every week. Oh how I cursed that garden!
Ok, in reality it was probably only about a ten by twelve foot box and my parents probably only made us go out to weed when the situation became really desperate, but I hated every minute I had to work out there. I promised myself that as soon as I left my parent’s home my shadow would never again fall upon a garden.
It was a vow made in vain and when my husband and I moved into our first home I tried to turn the tiny, little flower beds into a vegetable garden. The back of our house, where the beds were located, looked out onto a wild hill full of squirrels, gophers, and rabbits. I was a novice garden (remember I was only a weeder in my parents garden) and I didn’t see any problem with sharing my gardening space with cute, little creatures of the wild.
My innocence didn’t last long when everything I attempted to grow became a house salad for Peter Rabbit every night for dinner. How I came to hate those rabbits! My hatred reached its pinnacle when the one little zucchini that I’d managed to grow and nurture all summer fell to a gang of rabbits who claimed my backyard as their turf. The morning I went out to pick my zucchini I only found about one inch of the squash was left and I swear that bunny must have been seriously buck toothed because I could see the tooth marks left in the remains of my precious Italian squash.
You might think that I was courageous and spent the remainder of the summer fighting those furry beasts but in reality after jumping, stomping, and making loud, squawking noises of frustration I marched back into my house, slammed the door and left the backyard to the wild beasts on the hill.
After all of these gardening experiences you would think I would have left the gardening world but for some crazy reason I had the landscapers put in 3 little garden boxes in the corner of my yard when we moved to Arizona. I think it was out of some sense of guilt that any decent Mormon should know how to garden. I managed to completely ignore those boxes for the first 2 summers that we lived in this house.
Not this summer. My little daughter and I decided around the end of April that we would go and put our garden in (my mom was also coming to visit). If you know anything about gardening in Arizona, April is way too late to put in a garden. I had my suspicions at the time and they have since been confirmed. Most of the plants I have grown have yet to produce any fruit but I have managed to grow some cucumbers, zucchinis, hot yellow banana peppers, and a cantaloupe or two. I’m hoping that once it cools down most of the plants I have nursed through the summer will begin to produce and we will be sitting in vegetable city.
Another novice gardening mistake I think I’ve made is planting pumpkins and spaghetti squash together. I think they may have cross-pollinated because all of the squash plants seem to be producing little, yellow, ball-like squash that shrivel up and die about the time they reach the size of a baseball. I’m hoping the shriveling stops when it gets cooler but I’m very disappointed because I really wanted pumpkins. I guess my kids will have to carve spaghetti squash this Halloween.
In spite of it all I’m proud of my crazy garden. You gotta start somewhere, right?
[Associated radio.blog song: The Beatles - Octopus's Garden]