Gardens aren’t for pansies.

Each year I look forward to spring so I can try my hand at screwing up another garden. Experts say that gardening can relieve stress and help us feel more productive. All it does for me is keep the children outside longer so they aren’t creating more clutter.

If awards were handed out for effort, I might earn a trophy. Or perhaps I could win for being the pathetic sap who keeps on trying. Despite my valiant efforts in horticulture, nothing ever seems to take root… except my disappointment.

I’m not new to gardening attempts. I’ve been steadily failing at this for years. If Post-Apocalyptic Gardening ever becomes my family’s sole chance of survival, we will all be knee deep in troubled waters.

I’ve been accused of various things in my life, but having a “green thumb” isn’t one of them. Nah. I have lethal Thumbs of Death.

Just so nobody can accuse me of being a quitter, every winter I pour over gardening websites and Youtube videos trying to unlock the secrets to victorious vegetable growing, all to no avail. Nothing can hold me back and I still try my Death Thumbs at gardening, again and again. This form of persistence is either very noble, or incredibly stupid based on the consistent end results of my craptastic “we-will-starve-to-death-in-the-apocalypse” garden.

This year we’ve gone a bit further and the kids have gotten involved too. “I’m going to water the plants,” they yell and off they trek to dump a gallon of muddy water on a single pepper shoot while neglecting eight other plants entirely.

None of my efforts have been successful and the kids are losing patience.

“Why can’t we eat this now?” the kids will ask as soon as they see a cherry tomato the size of a pea. “Why is this taking soooo long? Where are all the strawberries you said would grow?” These perfectly valid questions are followed by exasperated whining. “Why did we even start this garden if it doesn’t actually make any FOOD?” 

Why indeed.

By all means, I should have all of this plant-growing-stuff figured out by now. One by one, I’ve procured crucial gardening essentials: hoses, watering cans, gloves, raised beds, rakes, shovels, compost, mulch, horse manure, horseradish, horseshoes, and a charley horse. I have acquired everything except actual talent, which is apparently one more thing I can’t grow.

One year I was able to raise a billion and a half tomatoes. They never turned red. Another year powdery mildew rotted out all my zucchini and squash plants. Abusive squirrels and fat gluttonous insects chomped and burped as they devoured the tender leaves of my kale and lettuce starts. My seedlings fast became fodder for ravenous crows and demon-possessed chipmunks. I sighed and muttered “Maybe next year.” 

And here we are again.

Day after day, I have watered and tended my little sprouts while all of nature has perched on nearby tree branches, sniggering and sneering at my fruitless efforts. Furry woodland creatures have laughed and hurled out taunting animal swears. Snails have been throwing keggers and fraternity hazings on my raised beds.

In exasperation and anger, I plucked several snails off my dead leaves and squashed them under my feet. “Noooooo” the kids cried, “Mom just killed TURBO! She squashed TURBO! ” This was followed by shrieks, wails and catastrophic sobbing from my preschool crowd.

Look, Skippy, your slimy “friend” is the reason we won’t have food if zombies come.

The gardening efforts for this season are already forecasted as a total FAIL. At this point, all I can do is hope my children learn something from watching my repeated efforts. Perhaps they can learn perseverance. Perhaps they can learn patience. Or maybe all they’ll learn is that the definition of “insanity” means doing something over and over and expecting a different result.

You’re welcome to join us for dinner, but don’t expect lovely home-grown vegetables to grace the table around here.

All we can grow is clutter.


15 thoughts on “Gardens aren’t for pansies.

  1. I chuckled all the way through this. I too am in the “brown thumbed” camp. My Great-Gran (lovingly) told me I had the “evil eye” when I was about three (she did have dementia) and would either plants as a result (demented or not she was right on that score). My husband bought a yukka and some cacti for our living room in the hopes that even I could not kill them. We shall see.

    In Scotland my rule of thumb was to plant things that successfully grew in the wild. My thinking was that if they could survive an Argyll winter clinging to a hill side then they could survive me. That worked. Even my fuchsias survived. I didn’t cultivate anything beyond herbs but I managed that too. I applaud you for even attempting fruit and veggies. I knew that was way beyond my capabilities.

    Now I’m in America and have a new garden. It has trees and a few shrubs but no flowers, food stuffs or even herbs. I am stalking neighbourhood gardens to see what these people are successfully growing so that I have a starting point for what I might not kill. Our soil is very clay which isn’t a great start for my patience with gardening. I might start with herbs inside planters and see how it goes. Maybe the squirrels will just get more obese.

    Thanks for making me laugh this morning.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sounds like you have a good strategy! I should do more “looking” around to see what my neighbors are growing. Maybe they can give me some tips on the best ways to grow them.

      And that way I can ask them for some when my own crop fails.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sigh. I am so sorry that your environment seems to be against you.

    In what was my home until 2 years ago, I had a vegetable garden and lots of strawberries each year. I had flowers everywhere and I do mean everywhere. The only thing that I didn’t have in abundance was grapes. That was only because 2 pesky raccoons gave every year just as the green balls turned to a wonderful purple color and ate every last one. Not one grape did I ever get to eat. Gardening to me was the closest place to Heaven here on earth. I had one garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, another for assorted lilies and yet another for annuals. Then I moved to an apartment.

    Patio gardening is a chore and counterproductive, at least for me. Lugging all of the soil to fill the pots each year is heavy duty work. Carrying out gallons of water sometimes twice a day is tiresome. Filling the water jugs is boring. The small amount of produce that I come up with would have been far less expensive and back breaking, if I stopped the craziness of thinking that any of these plants are actually going to do well and instead go to the farmer’s market.

    Indoor plants have never been my long suit. My kids, now adults, would say, “please mom, do the plant a favor and leave it at the store”. They were right, my indoor green thumb was nonexistent. Then I moved to an apartment. I now have a thriving Norfolk Pine which I bought 2 Christmases ago which serves as my Christmas tree. It is doing so well that I fear it will become too large for my small space and possibly decide that it is a man eater much like the one on “Little Shop of Horrors”. I also have a variety of plants in a container, that I don’t know the names of, that my boss sent me after I had surgery. I have a Christmas cactus that is growing and blooms at Christmas and Easter. I am not sure why my indoor plants suddenly thrive. I suspect they like the positive energy that I have in my small space.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Positive energy sounds good! Maybe that’s why my plants don’t live- they KNOW I don’t like them already. LOL My MIL is a fantastic gardener and I’ve always said it’s because she LOVES her plants and they KNOW they’re loved. Love makes things grow!

      I love your idea for a Christmas tree! If I wasn’t sure to kill it, I would do the same thing! It sounds like your place is nicely filled with the joy of indoor plants. If I ever need extra oxygen, I’ll come visit your place. 🙂


  3. I also have often said that if the apocalypse comes, I’m gonna starve. I grow chickens and pigs, though, so we won’t starve completely. We’ll have scurvy, but we won’t starve.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve come to a great consensus with my husband: he plants, weeds, and waters, and I’ll pick and cook. When I forget to pick, he brings me fresh produce and I just cook. It works. I feel a little like the lazy cat in The Fox and the Hen, but I’m busy trying to minimize clutter growth, so I refuse to feel guilty. He even waters my beloved indoor lime tree that would have long been dead now if it weren’t for him. My houseplants are in a “I water when they wither” plan. Some fare better than others. The ones that don’t… Survival of the most hardy. I had to replace one last week. My new plant says “allow soil to dry between watering” on the tag. This I can do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I hear you. I’ve just put three carnations and three mock orange bushes in the dirt. I tend to pray over them as I plant them, because they’re going to need the Lord’s help if they’re in my yard. I’ve considered performing rain dances and burying little statues of saints who were good with plants, but with my luck, I’d either stomp on the baby plant or pick a statue full of toxic chemicals that would poison the dirt. It’s harder to kill something just by praying for it.

    (Oh, and chickens go crazy over slugs and snails. If you can get past the idea that you are eating eggs that were fueled by slimy food, you could maybe win the children over. They might not care about sacrificing Turbo nearly as much when they see how really funny chickens get fighting over him. Then, you could have a whole army of slug and snail bodysnatchers, delivering the critters to the chickens who will love them!)


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