When we had our place in the woods, we had an amazing garden. We took the ugliest part of our land – a flat area covered in logging slash, the clay lifeless and hopelessly compacted by heavy machinery, and turned it into paradise. We planted cover crops, built raised beds full of rich compost. We grew vegetables mostly: tomatoes, salad greens, sweet and hot peppers, garlic, basil, beans, peas, even baby watermelons. There were sunflowers and nasturtium here and there. Trellises we made from saplings. Hops (for our homebrewed beer) and a large bed of asparagus in the north corner. I even dug a little frog pond at the edge of the garden, which served as both a happy home for frogs and a watering hole for moose.
These days, things are different. It’s not that we don’t have the space for a garden, it’s just that there’s no time. One of the things I loved about this house when we first moved here was the south facing terraced hillside, the garden beds full of perennials. I didn’t know a thing about flowers, but I was going to learn. I was going to have the most magnificent garden in the neighborhood. And we’d convert a couple of beds to veggies, too. But that hasn’t happened. This year, we managed to plant sugar snap peas, then promptly abandoned them. They’re untrellissed, flopped over, drowning in weeds. I didn’t start any tomatoes. I didn’t buy any plants to stick in late. I just let it go.
I started with the best intentions. I did plant the peas. I got a place ready for the vegetable garden. I worked buckets of compost into the soil. Then I got ambitious and cleaned out the herb garden, discovering a path of stepping stones wound through it. But I let that go too. Now, here it is, mid June, and the path is covered. I can’t tell the herbs from the weeds. Next the floppy, tangled mess of peas, lumpy soil is being ravaged by dandelions, sorrel and witchgrass. I’m lucky if I can get the grass mowed. Does it make me sad? Yeah, a little. But the time I would have spent tending to vegetables is spent tending to my daughter and my writing and when I get the hankering for a homegrown tomato, I head for the farmers market. I look at my neglected and abandoned garden and tell myself all hope isn’t lost. There’s always next year.
What do you wish you had time for?