Just over a year ago, I discovered I was going to lose my job. For that reason, I was too upset to plant last year’s garden. Today, however, in a gesture of returning optimism, I have resurrected the overgrown patch of grass in the backyard in order to commit myself to new growth and new life.
Lest I start sounding too “new age” for ya, it should be noted that my extreme enjoyment in beginning this year’s installment of the backyard garden had little to do with plants and everything to do with “man toys”. I was able to borrow my brother’s rototiller (thanks Paul!) and start tearing up some topsoil. There’s something about standing behind a noisy soil-shredding machine that’s very satisfying. It’s wonderful to see the transformation of a sorry piece of weedy grass into a lush dark loam. The first smell of fresh earth brings a satisfaction seldom equalled the rest of the year. Besides, if I’d have had to use a garden hoe and rake, it would have taken forever… if I could have done it at all without my 47-year-old ticker giving out.
I think this year I will once again plant cornstalks. Yes, cornstalks. I know better than to say I’m "planting corn" because my success in that endeavor is dismal to say the least. In all my years of attempted corn cultivation, I think my total yield has literally been about half an edible ear. In my defense, though, that half-an-ear did taste quite good! I now resign myself to the fact that the only useful result of my corn planting will be to provide my wife with nice seasonal yard decorations. Weathered cornstalks look quite attractive in the fall.
Actually, though, the real reason I keep planting corn is the summer thundershowers wouldn’t be the same without it. There’s something about the papery slap of raindrops on the leaves of a corn plant that reminds me this world is a nice place after all. And seeing the green cornstalks swaying gently in the rain-infused breeze is more comforting than all the Zoloft I gulp down in a year. So if I should happen to get any edible ears of corn this season, I’ll just consider it a bonus.
I also plan to plant my specialty: grape tomatoes. Everyone who has tried them raves about my grape tomatoes. For some reason, I manage to do an exceptional job growing that particular crop, producing bumper harvests of very high quality. Ironically, I can’t stand the taste of grape tomatoes. I just like growing them. Go figure.
Another crop I don’t like is cucumbers. I grow those well, too. Why is it I do a good job growing things I don’t like while the corn, which I love, doesn’t grow worth a damn?
Oh, well… at least I like potatoes and I usually do well growing those.
And so work on the garden has started for the year. It’s my way of voting “yes” for the future. And as I watch the fragile plantlets slowly grow into mature and thriving veggie factories, I’ll be reminded of the value of patience, hard work and optimism.