|Mom. My gardening hero.|
In the spring, a young man’s fancy turns to romance.
A young woman’s fancy turns to gardening.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it . . .
Even in northern Alberta, we have spring.
It just comes later and leaves earlier . . .
And spring means gardening!
My mom was a gardener.
One of those m-m-m-m-major gardeners.
Her patch of vegetables covered roughly two acres.
Give or take.
And was enough to provide the entire ranch population with food for much of the year.
I had been out in her garden from the time I could lift a hoe.
And even sooner (see here).
Not necessarily productive, but learning.
By the time I was married, I thought I knew everything there was to know about gardening.
Boy, was I wrong.
Did you know that those little plants don’t plant themselves in neat, tidy rows?
They have to be painstakingly put there.
Oh, I admit that I watched Mom string a long piece of twine and follow it with a hoe to make sure her garden was aesthetically pleasing.
But it never occurred to me that her actions had a point.
But I was willing to learn.
My Husby rototilled a large patch of ground near our home.
Armed with a century’s worth of seeds, I started out.
Planting turned out to be quite easy.
Stretch the string.
Follow the line with a hoe.
Plant the seeds.
Cover them up.
Turn on the sprinkler.
I should probably mention that while waiting, you have to keep an eye on things.
Otherwise, the weeds tend to overpower the plants.
In my first garden, I had planted a couple of rows of tomatoes.
I love tomatoes.
I had no idea that they needed to be started sometime in . . . December.
The little plants poked through the ground.
As did the weeds.
The interesting thing about weeds is the fact that they adapt themselves to fit perfectly with whatever vegetable plant they are near.
Thus, tomato weeds look like tomatoes.
Carrot weeds look like carrots.
And so on.
My tomatoes had emerged.
The weeds that accompanied them looked nearly identical.
They even smelled the same.
Which was which?
I studied the two plants.
Finally, I made a decision and started pulling.
Soon the rows were clean and tidy.
Happily, I turned the sprinkler on my garden and went back into the house.
A short time later, my mother-in-law, also a master gardener, came out for a visit.
She stood at the end of my garden.
“Why do you have two tidy rows of weeds, Diane?”
I stared at her.
Then turned to look at my tomatoes.
I had chosen . . . poorly.
Then she gave me a piece of advice that I’ve never forgotten.
“Diane. If you’re in doubt about a plant, pull it up. If it comes back, it was a weed.”
Doesn’t help much, but good advice all the same.