Since this is my first official garden entry, I would like to make one thing clear: I am no feel-good gardener. I am a realist. I admit having evolved to my present mind-set, but I have evolved out of the need to survive, just like any other species.
My gardening endeavors are a battle against the odds: Against nature. Against varmits. Against weeds. Against the dogs. Against my chickens. Against wild turkeys. Against insects. You get the point. But let me illustrate it quickly with one short story.
When I first started my garden, back in the days of my naiveté, one of the first things I planted was asparagus – that vegetable of promise and patience. I did everything right. I read every book. I couldn’t wait. And when that first spear peeked out of the lovingly tended dirt, I was so excited! Then, within three days of the first spear’s emergence, there was a beetle crawling on it. Of course I had no idea what type of beetle it was at the time, but I quickly learned: it was a bona fide Asparagus Beetle! What you have no way of knowing is why that seemed impossible to me at the time. We live on 45 acres of land that had not been inhabited for over 20 years when we built our home here 15 years ago. We live at least 1/2 mile from any other home. We are surrounded by marsh, woods and farm land (no, none of it growing anything even close to asparagus). And yet, somehow, an asparagus beetle had found it’s way to my newborn patch of asparagus. This was foreshadowing, of my future gardening drama, at its finest.
And today, I continue the fight, with eyes wide open. Yesterday marked our first truly beautiful Minnesota day (which I define as one with winds less than 50mph), and I took the first step of the dreaded gardening season: cleaning the asparagus patch. The only difference that marks this year from any other, is that I somehow managed to do it before the emergence of the first spear, allowing me to walk around without crushing the priceless stalks of early spring. No, I am not stupid enough to believe that I am turning over a new leaf. I was just lucky.
And despite my yearning for that first meal of freshly grown asparagus, I know that within 2 weeks of daily meals, I will be giving it away by the rounded armload to anyone who happens to drive down our long and dusty driveway. That, my friend, is one of the harsh realities of gardening. There is no such thing as moderation.