HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
September 18, 2006, Herald Journal

Love those garden veggies

By JENNIFER GALLUS
A bountiful garden harvest is something I’ve always aimed for in the spring of each year. However, I must admit I’ve never achieved a great, or even a decent, harvest of garden veggies. I have several ideas why this may be happening.

Every fall, as I look at my vegetable garden, I see the same thing. A few tomato plants that possess very small and green tomatoes, and the rest of the garden looks kind of like my lawn.

I’ll start from the beginning. As spring approaches, I develop plans for growing a delicious line of garden veggies. I start to acquire various seed packets of our favorite veggies we never actually get to harvest.

When the soil temperature is just right, I beg my husband day after day to till the garden.

Oh, the happy day, the garden is ready to plant! My boys and I have a great time planting the seeds and marking the rows.

I venture out one more time to buy some tomato plants in three-inch pots. As I pop them in the ground, I feel a sense of completion.

The boys and I check the garden every few days for emergent sprouts. Yes, we have sprouting, and things look good!

A couple weeks later, weeds creep up in the garden and start to ruin the look of things. As time goes by, more and more weeds assault my once good-looking garden.

This is at about the same time mosquitoes begin making their rounds. Also, the temperature for this part-Norwegian, fair-skinned girl gets higher than my comfort level. What’s more important, I think to myself, weeding that blasted garden (you know, the one I couldn’t wait to plant) or getting heat stroke?

Heat stroke is a real possibility. I better not chance it. Some may suggest weeding in early morning or late evening. No can do, can’t risk the possibility of mosquito-transmitted diseases.

Good gardeners probably water the garden during drought conditions. I do know that watering after the sun goes down is the most effective.

However, after the sun goes down, I go down, and I am usually not thinking about my poor, neglected garden. I will not water during hot summer days because a lot of water is lost into the air. Thus the garden must fend for itself and rely on a drink from Mother Nature.

Soon the eyesore, I mean the garden, must be re-evaluated. I get out my safari gear and venture into the overgrown area (because it really can’t be referred to as a garden any longer). I scout for any signs of vegetable life, and experience the sorrow of no survivors.

The thumbs up is given to my husband who is anxiously waiting on the riding lawn mower. The circle of life is complete, the garden is lawn once again.

After brief mourning, I venture out to farm stands selling the same veggies that I would have produced if only I could’ve overcome my summer hurdles.

I dream of a summer where I turn things around and make myself accountable. Each year, the garden square footage gets smaller in an attempt to reach garden glory. The theory being that if there’s not as much of an area to take care of, it would be tended to more regularly.

This hasn’t worked. I fear a garden of two feet by two feet is in my future, for my sake and the sake of the poor defenseless veggies.

Kid-isms

On a bad weather day, one of my boys, Joe, asked, “Does God make it so windy and rainy?” And my other son Jacob said, “Yes, He watches the news so He knows what to do.”