Hands in the Dirt

I planted a garden today, y’all. Isn’t it sweet?

It was kind of gloomy out, and I’d sincerely planned to spend the entire day in my pajamas, doing nothing more strenuous than the New York Times crossword puzzle.  (Which, honestly, kicked my ass today, so it was pretty strenuous to start with.) There was an unexpected break between rain showers, long enough that I felt confident about getting some veggies in the ground.  Darn good thing my garden plot was already set up, through no virtue or effort of my own.  It’s a community garden, and my lovely neighbors had already made all the plans and done all the work.  I am late to this game; my friend Tripp, whose yard-singing and garden-growing skills are legendary, saved me a plot.

It’s remarkable what an hour of having your hands in the dirt can do for your outlook.  I made little rows, and plucked a handful of weeds, and thought about where the tall things should go, and so forth.  And then I started planting.  Squash, of course, for mid-summer squash and onions; zucchini, in honor of the childhood summer when I was about ten, and we had to eat it three meals a day just to keep up with production; edamame, because it’s just tasty; and eggplant, although I don’t really like it, because it’s pretty.  I planted “Cinderella’s Coach” pumpkins, in hopes that the squash borers don’t attack this year, and I planted spaghetti squash and peas and cucumbers.  And the there are the tomatoes, chosen entirely on wishful-thinking names.  Early Girl.  Mortgage Lifter.  Homestead 24.  Better Boy.  And enough cherry tomatoes to snack on all summer long, if they make it.

Planting a garden is such an optimistic move.  As always, I overbought.  I planted too much.  I have enough overflow plants to take over my front-yard garden, too, which is currently a strawberry patch.  That in and of itself is optimism in action.  Two years ago, I planted three tiny strawberry plants , and got zilch.  Last summer, not realizing my strawberries would overwinter, I noticed that my strawberry plants had doubled in number, and I had a bumper crop of seventeen strawberries, big ones, picked one or two at a time during the surprise strawberry season.  This year?  Strawberry plants all over the place, and berries from flower stage, to tiny yellow orbs, to just-turning-pink.  A strawberry bonanza.  You never know when an investment will surprise you like that.

I have high hopes.

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