I am the daughter of a professional gardener and the granddaughter of farmers. Unfortunately the green thumb gene skipped me. Whenever I try to keep a plant alive, the only thing I grow is more and more impatient.
I was raised on fresh, homegrown food—thanks to my mom—and maybe that’s the problem. I’ve never had to learn to garden because other people have always done it for me.
But these days it seems like everyone’s talking about how great it is and blah, blah, blah. Michael Pollan goes on and on. The first lady is doing it. And I am living in the most adorable little cottage with a garden plot this summer, so, I thought, what the heck? I will let go of past failures. I will grow my own food.
Last week my mom came over and helped me plant a few things—tomato, basil, cilantro, salad greens, some kind of squash. The experience of putting the happy little starters into the freshly-turned soil gave me a wave of satisfaction. I can do this, I thought. I will do this.
I will endure the soul-crushing defeats, the constant mourning for the shriveled-up, dried-up, over-watered, under-sunned, over-sunned, under-watered… I will battle the twisting, writhing snake of the hose each morning before the sun hits my plot.
I will trudge on with watering can in hand, even when I have to bury the remains of unrooted roots. Even when I have to endure the little nibbles of bugs and rabbits, or when I find a deer munching on my salad greens. That’s the way the arugula crumbles.
I have tickets to see Michael Pollan speak tomorrow night in Boulder and when he asks the audience, “Who out there grows your own vegetables?” I won’t think of the already depressed sweet basil plant, or the other inevitable casualties as I battle the first-time-gardener blues.
And I will proudly raise my hand.