Oregon’s Most Terrible Gardener

My grandmother came to visit us for a week. The first thing, she looked at my garden and said, “My mother was a gardener; I was a gardener; your mother was a gardener. What happened to you?”

My garden is sad.

Bad Gardener. MomsicleBlog

Most often, when I’m watering, I think of those cracked-earth dust bowl scenes from the Great Depression.

I had to apply for a refugee visa for my squash, who is fleeing to a neighbor’s vegetable plot.

These two squash were the same size when planted, but mine (left) is about ten times smaller than my neighbor’s (right).

Fleeing Squash. MomsicleBlog

Too many years of living in apartments has sucked all of my green thumb’s color dry. Also, my little minions love to run over plants with their dump trucks.

But it’s mostly me.

I killed a hydrangea. My fledgling spinach went to seed right away (which is how spinach gives you the finger–see below).

Spinach Flips Me the Bird. MomsicleBlog

Doesn’t it look angry?

Half the basil went brown. My two tiny rosemaries have been accepted into Hospice. (Don’t be fooled by the green below–this plant has been getting smaller since I bought it a year ago.)

Rosemary. MomsicleBlog

“You know,” my grandmother said, “a garden needs love.”

It’s hard to hear the truth, but there’s no one like your family to tell it.

My sister suggested that maybe I’m a hate gardener rather than a love gardener, because–in a really bad mood–I cut out every single blackberry tendril that was sucking the life from our yard. And I stood triumphantly on a tree stump, razor-sharp weapon in hand, surveying my kill.

And Don't Come Back. MomsicleBlog

There’s no tender touch here: This is more like Sherman’s March to the Sea.

But I think that’s what my yard needs right now. The ivy is encroaching on my position every day. A few really good bad moods and I’ll have pried that python off the yard’s neck using my favorite tools: shovels and shears and rage.

In the meantime, the tomatoes and peppers can continue their imitation of a vegetable ghost town.

Vegetable Ghost Town. MomsicleBlog


10 responses to “Oregon’s Most Terrible Gardener

  1. Aw, it’s not for everybody, and it’s A LOT of work. I was obsessed with my balcony garden for a couple of years, but this year I have totally lost interest and let it succumb to the wind and fog and lack of rain. Getting a meager handful of stunted cherry tomatoes strawberries and snap peas per season (not even enough for a salad) is just not not motivating enough.

    • What!? Not you, Caitlin! I thought for sure you would write with six tips on how to improve my sad little plot. Now that I know that you’ve given up hope, what is there to live for?

  2. Gram was right. Garden needs a lot of love and attention and time. My best advice is to water it early in the morning and later in the evening. Do not water at high noon because the water burns the plants as the sun bakes the earth. The rest is up to God really 🙂

  3. You and me both. But, it’s the first year I’ve ever really tried…..so maybe it’s an experience over time thing. The tomato you gave us is doing OK – it has several tomatoes growing….and yet at the same time, it’s simultaneously wilted (too little water), yellow (too much water, and brown (dead).

  4. I used to have similar trouble with gardening. The advice that has made the difference for me:
    Proper soil balance (if interested I can go into detail)
    Adequate amount of sunlight/day
    Daily “deep” watering
    This year is the first year that our plants are exploding and we are raking in so many vegetables. It’s so worth it…stick with it!

    • I think it’s the soil over here! And the love. A survival-of-the-fittest attitude is not conducive to a large vegetable harvest. I will be coming to you for soil tips.

  5. This post made me laugh because I can relate! Alas, I don’t have any tips for you because I might be coming to snatch your crown as Oregon’s worst gardener. The last time I did much gardening, I got a series of flops: http://www.supercoupongirl.com/garden-update-well-at-least-i-got-a-tiny-carrot/ I haven’t done too much since, not because I don’t want to try again but I just simply haven’t had the time. We’ll get there one of these days!

    • I am just sitting here laughing about your picture of the emaciated upside down tomato. My planter looked basically the same, but the plant never grew so large. I thought those things were supposed to be miracle growers! Not in my hands!

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