I’m occasionally surprised. It doesn’t often happen because I have ESP. A fortune teller told me so. When I asked her directly if I had psychic powers like hers, she said, “a little bit” which means I do. Being psychic is like being pregnant. You are, or you aren’t. I think she downplayed my abilities because she worried I’d set up shop next door and steal away business with my lower rates. She also might have been a little thrown off by the fact that I didn’t ask anything about future love or money.
Anyway, it’s not a good sign that this post got so off-track so fast. I sat down to write about gardening.
We have a garden. It consists of 3, 4x8 foot raised beds. The royal "we" grows lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and snow peas. So, that’s the thing. This garden is totally my husband, Brian’s, baby. I just get to enjoy the veggies of his labor.
So, what was the surprise? I’ve known Brian for roughly a gazillion years—which seems funny because I still sometimes think of him as my new boyfriend. Kisses, honey! When we met, he was an government IT cost estimator. Yes, that’s the job and, yes, I’m pretty sure that’s what he wanted to be when he grew up in New Jersey. He drove a Porshe and liked to shop. Actually, I don’t know if he liked to shop, but he liked to dress nicely. You could blindfold and spin him around in the middle of Brooks Brothers, and he’d be able to find a matching shirt and tie. He just didn’t strike me as someone who’d dig in the dirt.
Years later when he floated the idea of starting a garden, I was taken aback. I was so shocked, in fact, that I immediately called my mom (master gardener) and said, “Get this! Brian wants a garden! Hahahahahahaha.” By sharing this detail, I set into motion a series of events I should have been able to predict. My parents immediately packed up their car with all the materials, soil, and seedlings he’d need to get started. It was like reliving the moment when he asked for their blessing before getting engaged, they saw their opening and sprung into action- perhaps afraid he’d change his mind?
They helped get everything set up and then we waited. Even with my parents' help that first year, I wasn’t terribly optimistic. How was this going to work? How were we actually going to grow stuff?
Then, I was surprised again. Most everything we planted grew, and it was fun. And this about when my interests diverged from Brian’s. He leaned into the work: the strategies, planning, building, buying, weeding, watering, pruning, checking, and nurturing. I conserved my energy for clicking on recipe sites. That’s it- no surprise there. Four years later, it’s a pretty good system.
So, if you’re looking for actual gardening advice, I have none. Instead, I might offer some words of encouragement. From where I sit on the patio watching with a glass of wine and cookbook in hand, gardening doesn’t look that hard. Your husband could totally do it too. The kids seem to enjoy it and are presumably learning some valuable lessons about where food comes from. Though, I mostly just see them fighting over whose turn it is to squirt the hose.
Here are some pictures from where our garden is now.
Apparently, this is what happens when you dump an entire package of seeds- just to see. Surprise!
We also have kale for green smoothies and herbs creeping along. In the come weeks, we’ll probably have some snap peas. Sometime in July, I’ll be wishing fresh mozzarella grew on trees because we’ll be inundated with tomatoes. And when it’s too late in September, I’ll think about how nice it would be to have planted Halloween pumpkins.
Although rare, surprises like this can be fun- and delicious.