In April, again in May, and once more in late May, I planted a garden. Because that is what I have done every spring since 2011— turned over the topsoil and dug in.
In Utah, the pests were primarily aphids, slugs, and a blight that came for my apricot trees. The soil either dried to dust or clumps of clay that baked to rock in the hot sun. And yet, I always harvested an abundance of peas, lettuce, chard, kale, onions, apples, and beets. In Texas, the pests were myriad: fire ants, grubs, squirrels, creepy neighbors. I primarily harvested okra and peppers because the squirrels came for my heirloom tomatoes and nothing else seemed to thrive there. Including me.
Vermont has been a different beast.
The snow came through May. My garden rows were soaked mid-day and frozen through the mid-morning. I worried nothing would grow. And for a while, nothing did.
I planted and replanted and forgot what I planted.
Now I have everything everywhere. Too many zucchini plants and not enough pumpkins. A row of perky insect bitten kale. Happy carrots. Midget corn. Confused broccoli. And peas and beans nipped to nubs from deer I am not allowed to shoot.
Gardening here has shown me how much I do not know. There are pests I cannot identify. An army of slugs I cannot defeat. Groundhogs. Rabbits. And well-fed deer I cannot shoot. (Did I mention that?)
The garden has revealed my frustration with uncertainty.
In theory, your garden can be a place of order. In winter, you plot the garden on paper and order seeds. In spring, you plant starts or wait until the last (theoretical) frost to plant. You water. And then you wait. You harvest somewhere between 40 and 100 days afterward. This typically works. Except when it doesn’t.
My garden rows are now teeming with plants in various life stages I will not get to harvest. Our rural experiment on 136 acres is winding to a close. The where next remains unknown. What I do know is I planted seeds somewhere. And some took.
Life goes on.