Don’t give up hope. Ever.

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I’ve never had success with gardens. I have a brown thumb and usually kill a houseplant within a year.

Strange that I still harbor a desire to grow something. When I walk into a house with beautiful, thriving plants, I just want to sit and stay a while. The same thing is true when I visit a house with a vegetable garden. I want to oogle and awe at the growing plants and to stop and admire the food that will soon adorn a plate or two.

I’d always think how spectacular it would be to go shopping in your own back yard.

Early, before spring, I happened to notice a raised garden in the store. My mind dwelled on the ‘what if’ ideas for a week or two. My husband was the one that gave me the push I needed to go and plunk down the money for the project. I knew what would happen. The plants would die and I’d feel terrible for having spent money on a failed project, and I would grieve for the plants that could have thrived in another garden.

We purchased the 4’x4’ garden and added close to $100 worth of dirt. Then I went crazy with plants. I wanted tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumber, etc…  Some I bought as plants, others were started from seeds.

I read on what to do to fight bugs, and read that herbs planted near the vegetables would help control pests. Then I had to have room for rosemary, lemonbalm, dill, garlic, and a few more. In the back of my mind I tried to forget the past rosemary plants that I’d already killed.

Once it was up and growing, we quickly came to the conclusion that a 4’x4’ area won’t grow everything I had acquired. My husband suggested we purchase another raised garden. A week later, we had not 2 but 3 raised gardens in the back yard.

The first garden thrived. Tomatoes quickly grew so abundant they couldn’t stand up. The circular metal stand I bought to prop them up wasn’t big enough.

Some plants thrived, others seemed to sit there not growing or doing anything.

After a month I noticed green-gray spots on the tomato plants. A fungus I learned. Apparently they didn’t have enough air circulation from being so close together. Yesterday, on the eggplants, which never bloomed, were a ton of ants.

We decided to pull two of the tomato plants to give the others a chance to grow better. As they were, none would thrive.

Yep, I’ve had problems, but somehow I’m not dwelling on the money we wasted, or the fact that those tomatoes would have been eaten if they grew in another yard.  I see what I did wrong. I know ways to improve my garden for next year.

This morning as I walked out to the garden to water it, I didn’t cry about the empty places those tomato plants had been growing. What I spotted, instead, was the lettuce that had begun as seeds. I’d long forgotten about it, believing it never grew. Oddly, this lettuce is 2 feet tall, and escaped my notice until this morning.

My garden experiment hadn’t failed completely. Oh, and that rosemary is thriving. Nice and green and tall, unlike the withered ones of the past.

I can’t wait until 2017!