The Wide Angle: Gardening — really, how hard can it be?

Published 9:47 am Saturday, May 5, 2018

I was in a rare and somewhat weird position recently.

We were in the Albert Lea Home Depot and dare I say I was in full “Tool Time” mode. You remember that show, starring Tim Allen … before it changed its name to “Last Man Standing?”

Oh come on. You know it’s the same show.

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Back to the story at hand. I was making the first move in what will be my first-ever raised, backyard garden. I think after four years in the house, this finally and  officially makes us homeowners.

The garden itself isn’t a complicated affair. Nothing that will involve such heavy, earth-moving hardware as a tiller. A simple five-foot by six-foot, single level affair that will harbor a small number of garden goodies, fit perfectly for two people trying to achieve life on some level self-sufficiency.

Technically, this isn’t my first foray into gardening. I have to first consider a poorly planned attempt at window-gardening in South Dakota that included an ill-looking mass of green that was supposed to be a tomato plant.

Years later and having moved into this house, I tried again on a smaller scale with strawberries on one corner of the house.

I had my doubts. My mom has the gardening chops to operate two gardens at once. I failed window gardening. I don’t have that kind of attention span, but I thought I would try again.

As it turned out strawberries weren’t that hard to grow. They looked doubtful for a while, but soon took over the corner so naturally I added more and they too started taking over the corner.

“I’m a gardening genius,” I thought.

Of course, the next step was to be a step up. Raspberries.

I love raspberries. Hands down, probably my favorite berry in the whole wide world of berrydom. Probably, one of the best days ever was happening upon wild raspberries during a walk through Itasca State Park. Wild is definitely better, but I wanted my own.

Two plants found their homes between two rather big bushes in the front yard. The instructions on the plants said they should produce twice in the first year. Again, I had my doubts and yet the berries rewarded my steadfast loyalty and as promised. Twice I received big, if not exactly plentiful, yellow berries.

This brings us full circle and what was making me so giddy in Home Depot — spacers. The parts of the raised garden that anchor and hold everything together.

The garden is still a little bit off from being completed, but hopefully, as you read this over the weekend, I’ll be wrist deep in dirt, getting everything going.

I never really thought this would be something that would appeal to me. I’m just not the get-outside kind of person my mom is. I’m not a hermit — or even a Herman’s Hermit — but I’m perfectly fine sitting at home not being roasted by the summer heat.

Still, I have noticed one thing that is remarkably appealing about this garden. The mindlessness of it. Stress is a common-place thing for everybody. If somebody tells you that they aren’t stressed or don’t get stressed then they are a liar. Not like me. I always tell the truth. Trust me. I’m a journalist.

Being in a garden, pulling weeds, planting things, digging in dirt — all of it tends to suck you in and take you away from the outside of the world with said stress.

So, yes, I can say I’m getting giddy about dirt and spaces and boards and tools and everything.

Huh, Giddy Gardening. I think I’m on to something.