We've lived in this house for twelve years. I've had a veggie garden all twelve. Even the spring that I ruptured my achilles, I paid a neighbor's son to come over and till. He tilled and then said, "Mrs. T, I did what you said then I stomped it down real nice for you, all ready to plant!" Well intentioned city boy, he was. I saw him pulling a weed in his mother's garden today. At least, I think it was a weed. Nice boy.
The weeds got out of control a bit that year until I bought my very first hoe, a wonderful tool for the bending-challenged gardener. This year, though, I'm intact (mostly) and I've got my tools ready and waiting for the passing of that frost date!
When you garden in Lagrangeville, you don't bring a shovel, you bring a pick axe. Under the two generous inches of top soil is a bed of shale. I'm on pick axe number two in this house. Nothing quite resembles the sound of a pick axe hitting rock. *ka-ting!!!!** I'm convinced that the folks who said you should wear safety goggles while doing yardwork were from Lagrange. The last pick axe tip that shattered missed my shoulder by a few inches. The pitchfork was the next wary volunteer. It seemed to handle the rocks better than the axe and I applied less than tool-shattering pressure this time.
So when I say, "I added another 5' x 8' to my vegetable garden this year," that's a big deal. My neighbor even honked at me in what could only be considered a jubilant rally cry of support for my attack of the rocky earth! She, too, is a frustrated Lagrangeville gardener. "Raised beds," she tells me, "raised beds!" That's too easy. That's giving in! Maybe it's just pride, but I can't let a piece of rock defeat me. If I can move a rock and make something grow, then somehow, in some very small way, I've overcome. I've won.
I just finished turning over the new bed and it's got me thinking longingly of my own soft, rockless bed. Hard labor is good for the soul, not the back. But while my muscles are crying, my heart is content. I'm thinking longingly about the juicy slices of Big Boy tomatoes in my August BLT's and the sweet strawberries (already blooming) ripe in June (if the birds don't beat me to them) and cool lettuces and beans all summer. This will be the year I plant the pumpkins and the rows of corn and the eggplant! All in that little 5' x 8' space! Ok, maybe I'll just add a few more tomato plants. Until next year when I get a new pick axe.
This is the evening primrose from the perennial bed I planted last fall. I left a few of the boulders that I unearthed in the garden. They make for an interesting backdrop for the flowers. That and they were too heavy to move. You have to choose your battles.