I have a love/hate affair with backyard gardening.
To be honest, I only love the idea of gardening but I hate everything else. I hate the planning, I hate the prep work, and I even hate harvesting.
The beautiful vision of strolling out to my yard every time I need a summer salad ingredient fueled prior seasons’ efforts. As I dig up our little beds each spring, I cuss and complain while trying to channel Barbara Kingsolver’s convictions and Martha Stewart’s passion. Those two ladies have a lot of power over me because somehow I find myself at Green Acres every spring saying, “How about we try FOUR kinds of tomatoes this year! Wouldn’t that be so FUN?!”
I also blame the change in weather for my temporary insanity. I’m usually so thrilled about warm afternoons that I forget I’d rather be doing many, many over gardening. (Like sleeping. Or reading. Or eating gobs of chocolate chip cookies while watching Nashville or typing a blog post.) About 15 minutes into my weeding efforts I remember I hate the whole process.
If I’m going to get confessional, I might as well get everything out in the open. I’d rather sweep and scrub toilets than dig up dry dirt.
And OH the STRESS as I try to determine out how far apart to space tomato plants! Last year I finally checked out gardening books from the library in an attempt to make a fair shot at my hobby. The books were very inspiring and educational, but I exchanged them for a lighter read before seeds actually went into the ground.
Here’s the very worst part… ready?…
When the plants actually grew—and miraculously they did, no thanks to my terrible watering habits—I didn’t pick most of the bounty. We had tomatoes coming out of our ears, and I left most on the vine to rot.
Last summer, as everything began to brown, I gave a sign of relief. For the first time I admitted just how little I enjoyed our summer gardening efforts. I wanted to love gardening, and I thought for many years that I did, but really I liked the idea more than the actual effort.
The thing is, I have a lot of hobbies I do enjoy but there never seems to be enough time in the day to pursue them all. So unless gardening is necessary for survival, which it’s not, I can hit up our city’s amazing farmer’s markets for the same fresh, delicious food without the work. Instead, I’ll fill those extra hours doing things I love. (Or, to be realistic, nurse a new baby and chase a butt naked toddler through the sprinklers.)
Have you ever liked the idea of a hobby rather than the hobby itself? Did you quit? Still doing it? Scrapbooking queens and knitters… I know you’re out there!