• erikaraskin

My Defeat Garden

If you look closely you will see that 90% of the green is grass

  • Erika Raskin

  • May 24, 2020 Daily Progress

In my defense, I’d just envisioned raised beds. On the deck. Or maybe a bunch of those individual pots like the packaged plants of oregano and basil next to the bok choy in the grocery store.


But, you know, with corn stalks and watermelons in them.

The idea of growing our own was in response to the lockdown and shortages and the looming threat of scurvy. While most of my scarcity concerns actually revolve around toilet paper, I thought a garden was a healthy attempt to control what I could. The next best thing to raising Charmin.


I broached the idea with my husband. I should have thought it through first. A little backstory:

Keith is an anesthesiologist and an electrical engineer. He not only reads directions, he understands them. He loves numbers and science and precision. Also, he grew up on a farm.

Which means he nixed the deck garden idea out-of-hand. Instead he did calculations on the computer to determine the size of the plot we should put in, and hired a landscaper to install a deer-proof enclosure and till the earth inside it. Keith purchased seeds and seedlings online, competing for the season’s hottest commodities like back-in-the day, in-person Christmas shopping at Toys-R-Us.

Which is where the problem came in. As someone who has never read a recipe all the way through, I had the job of deciphering the instructions on the little packets of seeds.


There was math involved.


Each species had its own (whiny) space requirements. And sun needs. Taller plants had to be in the back so as not to cast shadows. Which necessitated both an understanding of the daily arc of the sun and the distinction between rows and columns. Some of the guidelines called for biweekly planting in order to have an extended crop. Others petulantly commanded soil additives.


And the carrot seeds were so tiny, I thought I was being punked. They should have come with complimentary tweezers and a microscope.

But I gave it my best shot. While Keith installed the irrigation system, I attempted to implement the instructions. It was really hot. I made line-leaders out of the anchoring tomatoes. They were supposed to be in the back.

It’s entirely possible that when I realized my mistake I may have had a teeny stroke. And while normally I might have tried to camouflage my error (the way one does after putting nails in the wrong places in the wall), I understood that the proof would be in the (non)harvest.

So, I confessed that I may have gotten things a bit confused — that there’s a chance our garden is already tossed.

Keith laughed so hard I thought I might have to do the Heimlich. When he finally caught his breath, he said that he fully expected that to be the case. And then he hugged me.

Which I really needed.

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© erika raskin, 2019.