Friday, March 23, 2012

Garden War

My husband and I have been together for nearly ten years, and even from that very first summer that we were married, I have been faithfully and notoriously... killing his garden. It wasn't intentional. I didn't mean to; I didn't know what I was doing... was it a black-out moment? Every year he lovingly turned and prepared the soil, planted seeds that he daydreamed out loud about us making 30 jars (...wha?...) of homemade ketchup together, and then he would leave for the week for work... leaving me in charge of THE GARDEN.

 It was cute enough in the beginning. All those little sprouts poking up, all the little rows that Rob had tenderly weeded and fluffed and watered. I even had some cute lil' rubber boots to wear out there. I daydreamed too about sharing "our" produce with neighbors, bragging about how I had just finished "tending" it and stuff. 

But then it got needy. It wanted a drink when it was hot. It wanted manicured and talked to and paid attention to. But I had, you know, STUFF to do. Like sleeping in during those cool wee hours of the morning when it's supposed to be the best time for weeding. Like playing with my sister and experimenting on how to make Bloody Mary martinis and forgetting that today was supposed to be a thousand-million degrees... which I was going to definitely stay inside for. And then the moment would come when Rob would call in mid-week to say hi and, of course, ask how the garden was:

"Hi love! So, how's my corn? How tall is it getting? Did you water it?"

"Hi!... Whoa, yeah. That garden is... [Me running to the window in a panic. Where did we plant that thing again?!] doing so good. Yeah, it rained for like 15 minutes this morning. So. It's looking. Nice."

And he eventually learned that meant it had received zero water from me. Rob would come home to a wilted, tired, sad looking mess of vegetation that was barely alive. And I felt bad, honestly. It's not like I am anti-garden. Or even anti-dirty or anti-outsideness. For those of you who know me well, I am all about fresh food and doing things the old-fashioned way (Hell, we brew our coffee in a French press!). But for some reason I have yet to nail down, I just couldn't bring myself to make time for all those gardens...

... until this year. After having a joking but cynical argument regarding my ability to tend the earth, Rob and I have decided to have a garden war. The rules are:

  • We each have a raised bed garden of the same size in the backyard (Which he's building. Are you serious? I can't build that kind of stuff.)
  • We will each grow a variety of potato, tomato, bean and corn. They do not have to be the same!
  • Any additional space after that can be used to grow whatever we want.
  • Each garden must be organically grown and tended!
  • We cannot help each other out! That means he can't ask me to water his garden when he's at the lake, and it does mean I can hire the little neighbor girls to water my garden when I am at my sister's... drinking martinis. Just kidding! Only a little...
  • Once harvesting begins in mid to late summer, we have to weigh what we harvest and keep a running tally.
  • We will have a Garden War Feast at the end of the summer at which every dish will have something from the gardens in it, and our friends and family and local hired garden-waterers and weeders can come and be the true judges of the first annual Garden War winner.
I'll keep you all posted because I have some sewing projects in mind to go hand-in-hand with this. Let me know if you have any gardening advice -- I'll take all I can get!

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