Sunday, October 20, 2013

When Whacking Your Thumb with a Hammer, Once is Never Enough

Silly title, huh?

Who would want to whack their thumb with a hammer more than once?
Evidently, me.
Well, not literally, but figuratively.

I have done the very thing that I long ago said I would never do again.

Plant vegetables.

In addition to these, I already have tomatoes and jalapenos in the ground.
 It is akin to whacking my thumb with a hammer more than once, because gardening is painful for me every time.
I have tried and tried and tried to grow things in this land that is barren of nutrients, fickle of rain and quick and deadly with heat or cold.

I have amended the soil until my back aches and my fingernails are a wreck.
I have captured rainwater in ugly, makeshift rain barrels.
I have handwatered.
I have mulched.
I have handpicked (and killed) caterpillars and cucumber beetles.
I have drowned pillbugs and slugs and snails in beer traps.
I have introduced "the good bugs" to the "bad bugs".
I have provided shade for plants in the hottest part of the summer.
I have provided warmth and cover for plants on the coldest winter nights.
I have 'raised' beds.  
I have composted.
I have sprayed and coddled and pruned and fed.
I have completely ignored.
Nothing works.

Cool, imported seeds!  Maybe this will make me successful!
What I haven't done is get more than a meal or twos worth of vegetables out of any garden I have ever planted since moving to Texas, 25 years ago.
I'm not stupid.  
I understand more than the average urbanite about what it takes to make things grow.
I once worked a farm that has hundreds of acres of the very plants that I want to grow and they're terribly, terribly successful. 
So I know it CAN be done.
Why can't I get it?  
Why can't I grow food?
Broccoli.  I don't even like broccoli!
More to the point, why do I keep trying?
Is there something hardwired into my DNA, heck hardwired into my human existence that says, 
"Dig, Plant, Grow, Eat"?

And so, here I am again, hammer raised to whack my thumb.  
Maybe this time it won't hurt.


  1. All I know is that if you were in Idaho you would most certainly be PLANTING AT THE WRONG TIME OF YEAR! I know it's difficult to fight those farmer tendencies even when you're in Texas. Good luck, the deer will thank you.

    (And get those seeds in the ground quick, they've almost passed their sell-by date. No matter that I have seeds that are years and years old and still seem to misunderstand what sell-by means)

    1. Luckily, we have a second growing season in my part of Texas. If I were particularly astute, I could grow veggies all year round. My garden is deer proof, too. They can have the four acres, but not my beds by the house. :)

  2. Good luck and keep us posted as to your success.

  3. You are so lucky you can plant now....we ares starting to see the ground freeze here.


    1. We'll see if I am lucky or not. :)

  4. Keep going! I love to be involved with the struggle even when it sucks. I think it is wired into who you are...and many people really. It's worth doing too for that one time in a hundred years when it all works! Of course, it's easier in WV

    1. I had a very successful year the one time we got rain during the summer. I think it's wired into my DNA for sure. My dad could toss seeds on the ground in Missouri and grow tomato plants as high as the eves of the house.