After four months of working on our 1200 square foot garden we have finally achieved success.
A ripe watermelon.
One. Stinkin’. Watermelon.
Below I will outline the path to our epic failure so that you can avoid the pitfalls we blindly stumbled into.
Andy had a blast tilling the rain-softened dirt at the western edge of our property. Soil, sand, grass and weeds could be seen up to 15 feet in the air and deep cries of “Woohoo!” could be heard from the house. Andy proudly climbed off the tractor and announced that the garden was ready.
Grant and I set about smoothing and marking out deep beds in the very rough space that weeks before was home to cacti and rocks. I sowed 15 varieties of seeds indoors and grew ecstatic when the little leaves began to appear seven days later. The developing vegetables reached peak size to transplant, so I hauled my gardening tools out to the empty plot and lovingly embedded each seedling into its destined spot.
A week later, the 72 plants that I spent two hours placing in the dirt were gone. The dogs had dug up and rolled on every single one of them. I was furious. But there was still time to recover from our loss, we just had to start again.
Andy and I spent two days erecting a wood frame and attaching chicken wire to fence in the future garden. Andy even made a cute little gate. I once again set about placing the seeds in their peat discs and still danced a little dance when the baby leaves poked out of the soil a week later.
I spent another two, although much warmer, hours transferring the seedlings to their garden rows and declaring war on the weeds that had managed to infiltrate the plot in the two weeks since I had left it. Andy worked soaker hoses around the beds and we began the wait.
The plants kept getting bigger, but strangely, we never found any vegetables hanging from the stems. People around town talked of their massive yields of tomatoes, while I just stared at green leaves. By this time, whenever Andy asked if I had checked the garden, my humph signaled for him to quit asking. Of course I checked it, but there was nothing of interest, and I had given up.
Until last week.
Last week I walked into the garden to discover that watermelons were growing! I then began to question how the watermelons were growing but nothing else had made a debut. That’s when I saw them.
Six inconspicuous holes near the outer edge of the fence under the straw floor.
The plants had been bearing fruit, apparently good enough for the furry buggers to take home for dinner. I was strangely excited, it wasn’t that I couldn’t garden, it was just that I was being thwarted. The fence that we painstakingly built was an answered prayer for the gopher, seeing as our rodent-killing dog Missy couldn’t get in the garden!
So today, I sit here in my collapsible lawn chair with my 22 resting in my lap. Today is open season on garden-eating gophers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to poisoning, trapping, or small explosions… I just need the target practice.
“Hey babe…where is our copy of Caddyshack?”