One of my walking routes takes me by a local park where my senses are treated to the happy bark and furry play of dogs in the dog park, the squeal of kids running around a big open field, the concentrated, solemn walk of couples along the paths of a cemetery, and the bright bustle of locals tending to their plots in a community garden. I absolutely adore walking by this hub of outdoor activity. During spring and summer I'll spend hours walking in and around the gardens and watching things grow.
Flowers and wildlife are my favorite things to enjoy.
However, this park has caused me to ponder my own ability, or lack of ability, to grow plants.
On and off through the years I have joined the throngs of people at nurseries picking out baby flowers to plant in the spring. Most years I diligently care for these plants for a solid month. In a good year I might keep up a good pace of watering into late July, but it's rare for a plant in my care to remain vibrant into late August. I'm not sure what area of my brain is missing or a bit defective, but something doesn't work quite right because no matter their beauty, no matter the lack of stresses in my life, come mid-July my plants are abandoned and left on their own to survive. (Note: They don't survive.)
But the community gardens, full of all varieties of brightly colored, touch-inviting vegetables, along with my penchant for listening to too much news with the world seemingly on the verge of water-starved, overheated, zombie apocalypse, gun toting bandits, must-abandon-the-city-for-an-uzi-protected-plot-of-land, have me trying to decide if I will ever need to be able to provide my own food.
Certainly many, many people in rural South Dakota excel at growing all manner of crops. At each place I have worked there are co-workers who will bring in bags and bags of produce for anyone who might want some fresh veggies. These folks will surely flourish should modern transportation that brings food to our grocery stores suddenly ceases for a month.
A month... Ha. Were grocery stores to lose the ability to receive shipments of food and citizens found out - food would be out in two days. Probably one.
This reminds me of another weakness of mine - the lack of any real emergency stash of canned goods.
It is not looking for me during the zombie apocalypse.
Then they come back the next day and they pull more weeds. It is clear a garden is a lot of work. Yet there are things I haven't seen - do they fertilize? Do they have to spray for pests? How smart do you have to be about what you plant and where? Without fertilizer and pest spray how do crops stay healthy and how do they keep rabbits away? These are things I do not know.
Whatever these folks do, everything looks so delicious!
Have I mentioned that I do know that the gardeners pull a lot of weeds. Possibly some of them also don't read very well.
Or is this some sort of gardener inside joke?
If I journey into an adventure in gardening, it seems like there could be a significant possibility that I would look really stupid, fully exposing my lack of skills. Also I fear that I would end up with a barren plot. I sort of don't want to be this guy:
But it seems like 'community' is a big part of the community gardens, so maybe if I join in some conversations and ask a few questions I would be fine.
And most plots seem to turn out a mighty fine harvest.
See, and grow, on. In the meantime I will continue to ponder my future in gardening.