The Summer Garden in Review: It Just Really Sucked

I haven’t been sharing much with you about my garden this summer.  And that’s because it was just terrible, and it makes me sad whenever I think about how terrible it was so I try not to think about it.

Garden?  What garden?

It started out promising: summer squashes, a handful of currant tomatoes, a couple of cucumbers.  Rambling melon vines, tall-proud corn, knee-high okra, tomato and pepper plants squeezed into every other available spot.

It was all going so swimmingly, aside from a few squash vine borers, and I was sure that this year’s harvest would be even better than last year’s.

But then the deer happened and they ate everything, The End.

You know this scene in A Christmas Story when the neighbors’ dogs eat the Christmas turkey?

Well just replace “neighbors’ dogs” with deer, and “Christmas turkey” with “home-grown vegetables.”

No monster melons, no heirloom tomato pie, no roasted okra, no buckets-full of winter squash, no refrigerator pickles, no corn-on-the-cob dripping with butter.

They even ate the Jerusalem artichokes and the horseradish.  I mean, come on.  Horseradish? That shit is hot, yo.

Pretty much the only thing they didn’t eat was my basil, but then my mom’s dog lifted his leg and peed on it and, well, I’d say that’s a pretty good metaphor for what nature did to my vegetable garden this year.

I know that for most gardeners, every year’s vegetable garden is not as good as it could have been.  We have such high hopes in the beginning of the summer when we start our seeds, when we set out our tender transplants.  We always hope that this year will be the best, will be the biggest, will be the most tender and delicious.  And then Nature comes in and says HELLO.  I AM NATURE AND I WILL EAT YOU.  There is always something to contend with–the heat; the drought; the bugs; the viruses and bacteria; the animals; the weeds; the nutrients your soil is lacking.

But it’s always this hope for the garden that keeps us going from year to year.  Hope that next year’s garden really will be better.  Hope that keeps us out there pulling weeds; hope that gleams in our eyes when we thumb through the first of the seed catalogs; hope when we dig a hole and set the first transplant in.

So yeah, I’m hoping next year’s garden will be better–I’m actually kind of expecting it to be since after this year there’s nowhere to go but up.

Unless of course NATURE stomps me again, in which case take note: I am buying a gun, and I am finding someone to teach me how to kill a deer.

[Deer: Here is a greeting card I just thought of for you: Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, and I'LL KILL YOU.]

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