Earlier this year I made my first foray into gardening. I built an 10 by 10 box of wood and bought several cubic yards of good soil. It wasn’t much at first, just a dozen lettuce heads (my rabbit editor’s choice), six carrot plants (ditto), a half dozen broccoli, and four tomatoes.
The broccoli grew but never flowered. The carrots grew but when we dug them only one tiny orange root appeared. A certain rabbit turned up his nose at it. He’s a carrot snob, I guess. The lettuce decided it didn’t want to form heads, and instead grew in long snake like ropes. Gardening friends tell me this means it ‘bolted’ most likely due to the heat. I managed to get one salad out of it, along with the excuse to buy this:
My sickle, maybe an antique? Definitely nifty.
And do this:
Nothing like a good reaping.
But the real mystery is the four tomato plants. They grew. And grew. And grew some more. Eventually they took over the entire 10ft by 10ft garden box. They’re taller than I am and as lush as a tropical jungle.
And yet, we don’t have a single tomato. Some combination of overly rich soil, lots of rain, and plenty of sunshine means they thrived, looked amazing, and didn’t do the one thing they were meant to do. There’s a metaphor in that, about writing and how it doesn’t matter what it looks like in the end if you don’t tell a good story, but I’m trying to ignore it just now.
My garden is moving this weekend. I’ve got four young, strong friends to help me dig up all that dirt and put it in a better spot. I can’t help but wonder if this is folly. If the problem wasn’t the sunlight or the water, but something about how I tended the garden. My favorite college professor used to ask me where I was headed. No matter what my answer he would reply ‘just remember, wherever you go, you’ll still be there.’