You wouldn’t believe how lovely my garden is this year. My zinnias are in full bloom. Their beauty outshines anything else I’ve seen this summer. My squash and zucchini are dark green with leaves bigger than earth and blossoms as bright as the yellow sunshine. Their fruits are prolific. My tomatoes are growing steadily. They are bushing out with healthy green foliage and millions of little yellow blossoms and dainty little tomatoes are beginning to form.

I am, of course, pulling your legs.

This may be my most pitiful garden to date.

My dad helped me build some raised garden beds, and I really had high hopes that I would be able to call my garden a success this year. The verdict is still out, but it’s not looking good I tell you.

My first mistake was that I got in a rush. I went out on a Friday and bought a bunch of top soil to fill in the beds. I knew it was not good quality for growing because it is mostly bark it seems, so I also got some organic filler. I intended to put the organic soil in the spots where the plants were going. But I had to get it all done in one day I thought. It was a hot day. I started early but lifting and dumping all of those bags of dirt got me tired and hot quickly. I think I became disoriented and dumped everything all unmethodical. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I unloaded all of the good organic soil in the middle, instead of in the spots where I would plant my squash and tomatoes.

On the verge of a heat stroke, my face was darker red than any tomato I could ever hope to grow. I had to take a thirty minute rest on the porch with a wet towel around my neck. But, I was determined to finish my garden that day.

As soon as I felt I could put one foot in front of the other I got back to it. On a whim, I bought some straw bales. I decided I would just scatter straw all over the rest of my garden, outside of the raised beds, to keep down the weeds. It looked nice. But then, since the ground was hard because this was before last week’s deluge of rain, I decided to experiment with my flower seeds.

On top of the straw I poured topsoil. Then I distributed seeds for zinnias and marigolds and numerous other flowers that I cannot remember now. I put a little more dirt on top and sloshed the seeds around with my hands. The kinds of flowers that I plant usually aren’t temperamental and will pop up about anywhere the seeds land.  After the seeds were planted, I went ahead and set out all of my tomatoes, squash, zucchini and okra. I watered everything and looked in delight at my little garden spot. I envisioned what it might look like in a few weeks when the flowers popped up and the vegetable plants grew larger.

Day after day, I checked for flowers sprouting through the soil. But, nothing. Day after day, my plants stayed the same size. They began to lose their color. Maybe, they just needed rain. Maybe just fertilizer. But, then they got both, and they still didn’t grown an inch and their color was nearly yellow.  The seeds, except the okra, never came up. Not one flower seed. That’s probably a hundred dollars in seeds down the drain. My entire order from Baker’s Creek and the ones my sister gifted me for Christmas! 

The lesson I’ve learned from this is don’t experiment much. To rectify the situation, I went out and bought some more flower seeds and hoed out some regular dirt. There are now little zinnias and sunflowers popping up everywhere.

Maybe I can somehow save my existing tomatoes and squash. Although, that’s going to be another experiment. I guess I didn’t learn a lesson after all.

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