I plant a garden at my house every year. Every year I always have big plans.

This year I’m going to stake my tomato plants early so they don’t fall over. This year I’m going to properly space the zucchini plants so they don’t crowd everything else. This year I’m going to weed my garden on a regular basis so they don’t overtake my yard. This year I’m going to water my garden. I don’t know what my problem is. You’d think after six years that I’d get something right.

I know as far as gardening goes, I’m just a rookie. I’m still figuring things out and finding my way. I’m not looking to grow enough produce to feed the whole city though. I just want a few tomatoes and zucchinis for cooking. Maybe a few peppers and some basil. Could it really be that hard?

The first three years I expanded every year. I thought I just needed more space. That’ll do it. That’s big enough. And then things would get crowded and the next year I dig up more sod and expand. Well, now I’m at capacity and I’m not digging up any more grass. This is as big as I want it. I just need to start taking care of it better.

I always start out good. I till the dirt and dig out all the weeds. Then I plant my vegetables and space them farther apart than I did the year before. I read the little tags on the zucchini. “Space six feet apart.” Eh, they don’t get that big, I’ll do three feet. But then at the end of the year, oh yeah, they got big. Next year, I think, next year.

I also start out watering really well. I water the hanging baskets on the porch, and put the sprinkler on in the back. But as summer drags on and gets hotter and more humid, I get lazier. I like to bring the flowers close to death, and then water them back to life. I’m like a mad scientist who’s conducting near death experience experiments with plants.

“Did you see a white light? Were there other flowers there?” And then I starve them close to death again. “Aww, you look thirsty, why don’t you suck the moisture from the air. It’s humid enough, be resourceful.”

Don’t think I’m a sick weirdo. I don’t torture them on purpose. I told you, I’m just lazy.

If I had trouble taking care of the flowers and the garden before, now that I have a kid, I’m even worse. Last year I had big, big plans again. Friday will be our gardening day, I thought! Ellie can lie on a blanket and take in the outdoors while I do some weeding. We’ll have a great garden! Ha, I tried that once and it was way too hot. When I put her under an umbrella to shield her from the sun, I just felt like I was baking her. I like baked zucchini, but not baked baby. So last year the weeds were crazy.

But this year, right? I thought with Ellie walking and playing, we could be outside all summer long. We were for a while too, but then it got really hot. Way too hot for me. Plus, the few times I did try weeding with her, she wanted to help and did so by pulling the flowers out. Well, what was left of the flowers. I think someone or something has been peeing on my flowers in my front yard. One by one, they have been dropping like flies. I wasn’t even experimenting on those.

And then in the back yard!? I hadn’t been back there for a few weeks, but when I did, whoa! The weeds were so big, I not only lost my oregano plant, but also my pepper and eggplants! Then I felt something brush up against me. It started to wrap itself around my leg and tried to pull me. Ahhh! It was the butternut squash plant! Its vines were like hungry, angry tentacles! I tried to run but it squeezed. I tripped and fell. It was spreading its vines all over the yard. Into the neighbor’s yard, up the side of the garage. It was spreading quickly, and it was hungry. I had to get out of there! After I escaped, I kind of wanted to go watch Little Shop of Horrors again (the Rick Moranis version).

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Even though I don’t weed regularly, or even water regularly, I still manage to produce some food. And I love it. Fresh tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers and fresh herbs. It’s great. This year, I planted beets, too! (Hey, it’s not your garden, you don’t have to eat them.) Ah, I can’t wait for homemade tomato sauce, garden pesto, homemade salsa, grilled zucchini, garden veggie lasagna and stuffed peppers. Mmmm.

But just as I don’t weed, water or space my plants properly each year, by the end of the harvest, I’m totally sick of eating tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant. This happens every year.

Next year I’m going to plant something different. Next year. …

What do you plant in your garden?

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