I had a magnificent vegetable and herb garden in our first home. The salads, pesto and mint tea I MADE FROM IT were fantastic. My plants grew big and fast, and I was hooked.
When I was pregnant with our second baby, I decided that, despite my swollen belly, I would plant a new garden with my son.
The new garden would be our last project as just a mama and a son.
Except we decided to buy SEEDS.
In my first few gardens, I’d used seedlings. But I wanted to make the shift so E could appreciate the progression of seed to seedling to plant to fruit to our table.
And so I could prove that I was a TRUE GARDENER to all those people who cared but didn’t actually exist outside MY MIND.
With joy, E spread the seeds and waited. And waited. And waited.
It was SO boring.
But, finally, seedlings appeared. A LOT OF SEEDLINGS. Hundreds of plants growing towards the sunlight. (We may have dropped a bag or two of seeds in with the toddler planting method.)
E and I were so excited. I waddled a jig, and we high-fived.
Until it dawned on me: I must kill all but the strongest seedlings if any were to survive.
(My thoughts are often a cross between Nietzsche and Star Trek.)
I walked over with my hand of god and pulled two little tomato seedlings out. As I reached for the third one, only an inch out of the ground and hidden behind two large seedlings, I think: HE MIGHT MAKE IT.
I did not pull.
This happened again and again.
E and I continued to tend to the garden. The garden of survivors also known as EVERYONE who wasn’t rotting. (I guess zombie plants don’t pull on my heartstrings.)
Don’t get me wrong. Each day, I would walk outside with high resolve knowing that I MUST THIN THIS GARDEN. And then the guilt would set in. And I would instead whisper encouraging phrases like looking tall or this leaf is HUGE – way to go.
I told myself: I gardened on instincts before and it was delicious. What’s the worst that could happen?
Starvation is the worst that could happen. Because 50 green bean seedlings cannot survive a 3×5 garden patch especially when coupled with 45 tomato seedlings and 32 cucumbers vines.
In fact, only one green bean can survive.
(Although that one was delicious.)
This year, we are building another garden with the kids, and we are plantings neatly spaced seedlings so we can kill our plants the old-fashion way — by not watering them all summer.