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Could it be?

There are signs of good things happening in the garden. And by good things, I mean: Stuff I Can Freakin’ Eat.

Okay, okay. These tomatoes are not my first produce of the season.    True, I got behind on planting (and picking!  I lost my first planting of corn by leaving it too long.  The chickens have been really enjoying it, though), so there’s been a bit of a dry spell.  However, I’ve had peas, lettuce, spinach — your basic winter crops.  I even grew some Hakurei turnips, which were a particular favorite of mine back when we had a membership to a CSA.

But still, I’m really excited about the tomatoes.   Not just for the “homegrown tomatoes are better than just about anything else on the planet” thing, but because I haven’t been able to successfully grow any quantity of them since…well, it was before my oldest daughter was born.  And she’s four now.  Now, that has been a long, discouraging dry spell.

Two years of gopher damage, one year of severe heat combined with being pregnant, and one year of the dread blossom end rot.  A rational person would have just given up by now, I think.

Good thing I’m not usually rational.

And to be honest, I don’t think most gardeners are.  Gardening, at its very heart, requires elevating irrationality to an art form, and mixing it with dirt.  What rational person would willingly spend their time fighting insects, wildlife, weather, soil deficiencies, drought — the list goes on and on — to produce what can be so cheaply bought?  How is continuing to plant tomatoes, year after year, defeat after defeat, not the epitome of irrational behavior?  There are a million reasons to not have a vegetable garden.   Sometimes I look out over my (normally) wreck of a garden, where I’m always behind, always struggling to catch up, and always getting my but whupped by something, and I ask myself why I keep trying.

There are all kinds of answers to that question.  There’s a desire to be as self sufficient as possible.  A desire to remove a link from the chemically-saturated, planet-destroying food chain.  There’s the desire for that rarest of jewels:  a homegrown tomato.    So maybe there are a million reasons to garden, as well.

My mother always says, “Little boys are nothing but noise wrapped in dirt.”   And maybe gardeners are optimism wrapped in dirt.  I think I’m okay with that.

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