The Wide Angle: Gardening, it seems, is a war of attrition

Published 10:39 am Saturday, June 9, 2018

Surprisingly, there has been some interesting surrounding the progress of my garden since the last time I talked abou it.

In particular, Jen Haugen, who I’ve learned a lot about food from over the years, asked about it and even suggested periodic updates on what I’m tentatively qualifying at this point as an experiment.

I approached the idea of a first-time garden in the tried and true method of the way a lot of men approach things — without a plan.

The forest of bounty … for now.

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Okay, settle down men. You know that I’m at least partially correct.

What I mean by this is that I bulled right into my garden without looking anything up and if I’m completely honest, pretty much started working under the thought, “How hard can it be to grow something?”

Pretty hard as it turns out, which is reason enough for anybody who has grown a garden for a many years to cuff me in the back of the head and no doubt could have told me.

Learning the harsh truth of how much work it really involves, I continued pushing forward with the new realistic plan of, if I can get at least a third of my garden to produce something I would be a pretty happy camper.

As it turns out, things are looking pretty good, aside from a couple setbacks.

If I were a betting man, I would say we’re probably going to have more tomatoes than two people probably need.

I bought six plants that are currently starting to look a tad aggressive toward the other plants. In fact, that has probably been my biggest mistake. At five feet wide and 12 feet long, it’s becoming pretty apparent that perhaps I over-planted the space.

The tomato plants have gotten really big — or at least I think they have — and those they are taking up tons of space. Right behind them are beets that were pre-planted along with the beets I started from seeds.

Add in the beans, peppers, carrots and cucumbers and I’ve got some cramped real estate.

What’s really paying the price though are the pepper plants that have shown absolutely no growth aside from two of the plants. I’ve pulled three of the plants because they were being beat up by the tomatoes and clearly suffering.

I’ve had a couple other casualties aside from the garden.

I bragged to Jen a couple weeks ago that I got two more raspberry plants for the front of the house because in my fantastic rookie gardener thinking, raising raspberries can’t be that hard. My exact words were something along the lines of, “any fool can grow raspberries.”


One of the two original yellow raspberry plants up and died. It was a tragedy and I silently held a moment of silence … because how else do you hold a moment of silence?

Granted, the remaining plant is taking up slack like a champ and has spread rapidly in the space. So while I’m still a fool in many respects, I’m perhaps not the level of fool others think I am.

Really, you think I’m that big of a fool?

That hurts.

The other fatality stings a bit more. Over the last few years my parents have tried growing blueberries. I love blueberries and so after a little bit of thought reserved only for the most impatient of people, my girlfriend and I decided to purchase a couple of plants despite the warnings of my parents.

Challenge accepted.

We started the plants in planters until we could determine where we were going to put them in the yard, which perhaps was our first mistake. The second was a replanting of one of the plants which is the one that is dying or has died. So now we have to pick up another plant which I’m afraid might be too late to find.

So, wrapping things up, the garden and all of the other things I’m attempting to grow seem to be doing fairly well, much to my increasing level of surprise. I suspected in my first year that I would be looking at a raised bed of dead plants, but instead, we should have a pretty decent crop provided nothing weird happens or the bunnies don’t suddenly organize to get over the fence.

Because the last thing this world wants is organized bunnies. That seems adorably scary.