The Reluctant Gardener

My Grandpa, Joe Keener (my dad’s dad) was a gospel preacher. If he wasn’t in the church office, walking the mall, or ministering, he was in his garden. He had a beautiful garden! I did not inherit his passion for gardening or his talent. 

Truthfully, I don’t like outside. The dirt, bugs, and heat are not what I call fun. I don’t enjoy getting dirty and sweaty. I do like it when our work pays off and we can eat food that we planted, cared for, and harvested. However, where we live, it’s challenging to beat the elements.

This year, our garden started amazing! We had good rainfall early in the season – so much that I had “tomato trees” that I had to prune back. We had a few early peppers. We have more basil than I’ll be able to use all year. Then the rain stopped and the drought returned with a vengeance. No amount of watering could keep up with the fierce heat. The times I did venture outside to work in the garden, I ended up incredibly sick for a month at a time with terrible allergy/upper respiratory/asthma flare-ups worse than I’ve had in years. By the time the temperatures evened out, the damage was done and the garden had died. 

We have a lot more work we need to do on the before-planting part of gardening. Taking care of a garden starts with good soil. The right amount of sun and the right amount of water come later. Similarly, we need good soil to grow. I could interject a nature versus nurture argument here, but that’s not the direction I am going. 

I am a reluctant gardener. I only put in a fraction of the work necessary to yield results. I was disappointed by the results. Aside from the elements, I didn’t do my part to achieve success. The amount of work you put into something often directly impacts your success or failure. Rarely do achievements occur by accident.

Since the failure of the garden and my severe reactions to allergens this year, I’ve been working on building my immune system and improving my stamina. I still don’t like bugs, dirt, or getting sweaty, but I’m committed to trying again. Even if I only ever grow tomatoes, peppers, and squash. 

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