Arrow-right Camera
News >  Spokane

Keep your veggie tales to yourself, thank you

I dread this time of year. The days get warmer. The ground starts defrosting.

And then one day it happens.

The world is suddenly abloom with a rich bumper crop of highly annoying gardening fanatics who want to edge me into a corner and drone on and on about their mulch and their compost, and their fertilizer secrets, and their…

Oh, gawd. Sometimes I just want to grab one of these gabby gardeners by the green thumbs and start yelling.

“Enough (shake) already (shake) it’s just a (shake) lousy (shake) TOMATO!!!”

Now I’m a liberal-minded guy. I don’t give a hoot how people get their kicks.

If you want to waste valuable free time pulling weeds and tilling the soil, I say:

“Till away, buddy. And be outstanding in your field.” (Har!)

My beef is with zealots who feel compelled to talk everyone they meet into joining the Cult of Horticulture.

They’re like religious crazies who won’t get off your porch.

Or fixated parents who won’t stop bragging about their kids.

Well, count me out. I don’t want to hear about your six steps to salvation, or how gifted your bratty kids are, or what you did to grow that 10-pound prize head of cabbage.

It’s true. I have an aversion to agriculture. It was triggered years ago by a traumatic exposure to zucchinis.

Flash back to the early 1960s. My parents got this idea to help pay for my brother’s college by selling their homegrown zucchinis to local grocery stores.

I realize how bizarre that must sound.

Zucchinis, after all, are the punch line of the produce world. They’re like the one vegetable any nitwit can grow.

Drop a few seeds on a freeway. Next thing you know you’ve got zucchini plants migrating all over I-90.

Unattended zucchinis have been known to grow the size of minivans.

But my experience took place back when the zucchini was a more unknown and less-mocked veggie.

And so my family slaved away, growing these long green vegetables on my grandmother’s South Hill dirt patch.

Invariably I’d get stuck having to watch as the zucchinis were picked and polished and packed for delivery to stores and nursing homes.

I don’t know how much college money was actually raised on Clark Farm.

But I saw all the hours of sweat and effort required by zucchini ranching. And that’s when I took an oath to avoid farming at all costs.

“Hell, no. I won’t grow!”

That personal philosophy has stayed with me all these years.

So all I’m asking is for you gasbag gardeners to let me be.

Don’t give me any pruning tips. Spare me the artichoke anecdotes.

No, I don’t want to see the potato you grew that looks like Oprah. And please, whatever you do, don’t tell me about how much satisfaction I’m missing.

Hey, I’ve got nothing against gardening.

But if I want a carrot I’ll go to Rosauers.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or