All my life I’ve enjoyed gardening. There are few things as personally rewarding as harvesting your own fresh vegetables. Even when I worked I always found time for it and didn’t complain. OK, I complained but not a lot. Well, maybe a lot sometimes but mostly I enjoyed it.
In addition to a vegetable garden, I had a two rows of berry bushes and all sorts of fruit trees. The raspberries were wonderful until the deer found them and liked them too. The birds got the blueberries no matter how I covered them and ground hogs can climb trees to eat peaches even if they aren’t ripe yet. The apples were always afflicted with some malady that distorted them and I had no intention of spraying chemicals. Completely frustrated, I ripped all of those out. If I can’t have them, neither can they. (Yes I can be mean!)
Over the years we’ve tried things that worked and things that didn’t. Gardening when you live a quarter mile from preserved land is challenging. We have deer, foxes, raccoons, coyotes and a wide assortment of wildlife. Not only do we have our own crop of wildlife but some folks will trap critters on their own property and drop them off here. After all it’s a wildlife preserve. Isn’t that the appropriate place for them? Doesn’t matter that people live here!
Some critters love vegetables and some don’t. Even the ones that don’t may have a rumble in the cucumber patch and take it off the menu for the summer.
I tried many deterrents but the only one that worked was the 6 foot high chain link fence. The most economical solution was to purchase a dog pen. Economical is an elastic term. This was cheaper than having a company install a fence but it did increase the price of tomatoes to $25 a pound! But they were home grown!
For the story of how that fence came to be click here. Most of my followers were not around when I wrote it so it may be new to you!
It come assembled in panels with a people door. We mounted it on landscaping wood and enjoyed a healthy garden for many years. We still had to share with the chipmunks, birds and squirrels but we got our fair share.
Like many other hobbies that start out fun, it became work along the way. It had to be dug every year, fertilized, watered and weeded. Tomato plants had to be tied up. We grew more produce than we could use so we had to find homes for it. That’s more trouble than you would think. We downsized what we planted but the digging and weeding could not be downsized.
After godawful whining (that would be from me), this year I decided to take the garden out. I can have a tomato plant in a pot and I already moved the parsley and basil to a more convenient spot outside the kitchen door.
It’s time. It’s a passage and I’m not regretting it but I’m still sad. I’m mourning my lack of enthusiasm for it all. Most of all I’m mourning my lack of energy.
Next spring when it’s time to dig gardens, I will not miss it but come July when that first tomato ripens, I may have some pangs of sadness. Hopefully, tomatoes from a roadside stand will not cost $25 a pound!