Everything's green but Bob's thumb by Bob Karolevitz I don�t know why I do it.
Each spring I�m mesmerized by the colorful catalogs that come in the mail. Like a fool I buy the seeds and till our tiny plot. Then � with high hopes and unbridled optimism � I plant still another garden.
It will be a cornucopia like the picture shows, a bountiful harvest � and then the fall comes!
Once again disappointment prevailed. I did more weeping than reaping. What did I do wrong?
Maggie, our golden retriever, kept the rabbits away, but she didn�t do a thing about the mole (or moles) which soon showed up from God knows where.
They pushed up the peas, beans and radishes which I so meticulously planted. I invested in expensive eradicators � which didn�t work � as the mole (or moles) continued to undermine each row where little seedlings sprouted.
And then the bugs arrived!
I prayed and sprayed, but the insects didn�t seem to mind. I tried to be an organic gardener like the book said, but the thrips and cutworms soon had me dusting with poisonous powders to head off the invasion.
Instead of pristine plants, I ended up with a chemical set where my unadulterated veggies were supposed to be!
I could almost hear them gnawing away. Even the zucchini was not home free. I couldn�t pick the stink-bugs off like I could on the potato vines without getting my fingers all smelly.
Like it�s always been, it was an unending fight which I never won.
Next came the weeds!
At first I kept them under control. I hoed and plucked, trying my calloused best to stay ahead of the dandelions, lamb�s quarter and unidentified sprouts � but to no avail. I found myself wondering why the mole (or moles) and the voracious insects didn�t pick on them, too.
Before long the battle was lost, and I could hardly find the onion rows. I tried not to get despondent, though, because the tomatoes looked so good.
Of course, that was before the wind or the searing sun caused the blossoms to fall off, or there was a big black spot on each half-ripened fruit.
I�d given up on cabbages and cucumbers. Something always gets them before they mature. I didn�t miss the cabbages, however, but I like sliced cukes with sour cream. Unfortunately, I ended up with sour grapes, which is an expression used to describe my feeble prowess as a vegetable-grower.
As usual, the rains never came at the right time either. So I drug the hose over from the spigot on the house. It was a chore getting the connections hooked up so they wouldn�t leak, but in time I was ready to turn the water on.
That�s when I discovered that the sprinkler didn�t work, which meant I had to go look for another one. In the meantime, I�d gotten all wet!
Why, oh why, do I go through this misery every year when the soaking causes more weeds to grow and stirs up more angleworms for the mole (or moles) to feast on?
I should have listened to my sainted mother. She used to say it was a lot cheaper to buy a can of peas at the grocery store.
When I look at my meager harvest each October, I�m inclined to believe that maybe she was right!
� 2002 Robert F. Karolevitz