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The answer is ... no!


Ralph Thomas


  No, I am not planting a garden this year. Period. End of discussion. Don’t ask me again. However, you may ask me why.

  The answer is not an easy one because of the conflict between my desire to plant each spring, even though I may regret it in the fall, because common sense tells me it makes no sense to plant a garden, for the following reasons:

  My family members who raised their right hands and swore they would help when help was needed for such things as weeding, watering,  harvesting, shucking, packaging or freezing and making sure the necessary things were done while the veggies are growing and my wife and I take a summer vacation, quickly forgot their oath. I learned that lesson several years ago. We came back from a two-week vacation to find weeds taller than the veggies, most of which had turned brown for lack of water. What few veggies were edible were eaten by the local insect population, not to mention the deer population.

  I thought I had solved the deer problem last year. Wrong! I simply spent money to make it easier for them to eat what I had planted. The previous year I had watched the deer make their nightly trek from my neighbor’s garden and then across the pasture to my garden, always late at night when they thought I would not see them. Sneaky rascals. If this is their plan I thought, I will invest in a motion-detector spotlight that will scare them away. Wrong again! A trip to the local home-improvement store to purchase the light and necessary items to solve my problem was more expensive and time-consuming as I thought it would be. But I took a break from weeding (on my hands and knees) , installed the light and eagerly awaited the the darkness.

  About eleven o’clock I saw the two bright spotlights come on while I was lying in bed congratulating myself at my ingenuity. I rushed to the window to observe the results of my cleverness. Four deer were calmly walking across my yard  . . .  having already dined in my neighbor’s garden  . . . and proceeded to trample my almost ready to pick peas as they feasted on my okra. I think they sensed my presence behind the window, as they would occasionally look my way as if to say thank you for giving us light to eat by. That was it. No more garden for me.

  My problem now became what to do with the pioneering spirit that made me want to grow my own food in the first place? It didn’t take me long to come to a reasonable answer. It made no financial sense. Because we have a large family of children and grandchildren who all liked to have their freezers packed with grandpa’s produce I felt like a hero for helping them in this way. Then, I counted the cost. The cost of tractor and rototiller fuel, canning and freezing supplies, water, fertilizer, lime, and the list goes on and on made me realize it would be cheaper to buy produce off the back of a pickup truck than it was to grow it myself. I also considered the toll gardening was beginning to take on my eighty-year-old knees and back.

  So, now, if you ask me if I am going to plant a garden this spring, the answer is not only no, but  ***** no! Next spring I will fight this same battle over again, but the answer will still  be the same  . . .   I think.


  Ralph Thomas is a Locust Grove resident and the author of Doing Great, but Getting Better and Getting Old Can be Fun.




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