The last of the holiday weekends is fast approaching. One last round of football, food and frivolity before we settle into the doldrums of January. You know, that month when everything is frozen solid outdoors and the seed catalogs start calling our names ever so softly? They call from the coffee table, the nightstand and, yes, even the bathroom. “Buy just one more packet,” they say. “Your garden will be beautiful if you buy just one more packet.”
Do I believe them? Of course I do. I want to have that perfect garden filled to the brim with vegetables and flowers just like the picture. It will happen if I buy just one more packet. They are magic.
Therein lies my challenge. All gardeners let the magic take over the reality. We all spend the winter dreaming of what we will do in the spring. Our ideas are written on scraps of paper and in the margins of catalogs and magazines. Some of the more organized among us will even draw up complete new garden designs and then show them to our spouse with the expectation the spouse will look beyond the manual labor and the money and get as excited as we are. I don’t understand why he went running to the shop screaming something about liking it the way it is and not being 21 anymore. Reality is the pits.
So I am going to have to keep my imagination in check as I read the catalogs or visit the seed racks. There is only the two of us to feed so one pack of bean seed will grow all we can eat. I could donate the extra to Plant a Row for the Hungry but raised beds inside a deer fence can’t grow a full compliment of vegetables and a sprawling crop of pumpkins, winter squash and watermelons. They’d have to send in a search party to find me under all the leaves if I did.
Since money is in short supply, creative use of found items will determine which garden projects are going to get done this year. That means I get to go scrounging for what I need or can put to use and that’s almost as much fun as building the project itself. My favorite “candy stores” are Brown Building Materials, Pacific Metal and any construction site willing to give me castoffs. Maybe a dump truck load of nice 2-inch-thick pieces of concrete will follow me home one day. I need them for a wall.
I am going to have to remember that moving railroad ties is really work best left to teenagers you can bribe with a pizza or two. The days of dragging those beasts across the yard left with my youth and any thought of doing otherwise will lead to pain; lots of pain. I’m a slow learner though and I have the neighbor boy for one more summer.
Will I let reality take over? Yes, but wait, the magic will happen if I buy just one more packet of seeds.
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