this kind of gardening is right up my alley.
When Jessica told me to remove the roof panels, I was worried I’d lose everything to birds, bugs, and the wind. Oddly enough, the only real threat was me. By keeping them in a greenhouse I wasn’t thinking of the plants, I was thinking of myself:
“Wouldn’t this greenhouse and these pots be so much easier than actually having to garden?”
And it has been easier because all I’ve had to do is water everything and occasionally weed. Killing plants has been virtually effortless—especially since overwatering them is killing them. Two birds, people. It’s about efficiency.
Somewhere between discovering algae on the soil and watching my bell peppers jump off their stems to save themselves, I stopped caring. Maybe it’s the heat and the unusual humidity of the summer. Maybe I’m just tired and worn out with something else to tend to and care for. Probably, it’s both mixed with the fact that I’m just not all that interested in this as a hobby. Afterall, what’s the payback? Let’s be honest with our facts here:
- If anything grows, it won’t be much.
- I won’t eat anything that does.
- No one will take two mostly-ripe tomatoes and a rotten strawberry.
- I can’t wear any of this stuff in winter like I could a scarf I knitted.
It turns out that I’ve passed the point of caring. I simply refuse to let my entire summer be consumed by a failing garden. I have other things I could be failing at, like cooking, crafting, and parenting. All of those things need the time that’s going into scraping algae off my soil and texting Jessica about my plant problems.
So, I finally did what I should’ve done when I started this whole thing. I pulled off the ceiling panels over the two tomato plants. I examined the opened roof parts that already dropped the inside temperature by at least 10-degrees. I debated for a moment, then took off the rest. The side panels would keep them sheltered enough, and that was good enough for me—it’s not like anything was growing in there anyway. My tomatoes don’t look the way healthy tomato plants should. They looked tired and frazzled.
The garden was now totally open to the elements, and I was fine with it. What was the worst that would happen? More bugs would get in? Probably. But, if they could get in, it meant they could get back out instead of being forced to squat inside one of my plants because there was nowhere else to go. There was no Moses of the aphid family to part the soggy, algae-covered soil in a mass exodus to drier land. They were trapped in there. What would a little more air flow and less heat do? Kill them? I was already on my way to doing that—and succeeded in at least four cases—if you don’t count the two peppers I offed in May. At the very worst, the soil in there would finally get a chance to dry out.
Either way, I no longer cared and I felt free.
I didn’t go into the greenhouse again for about a week after I pulled the panels off. The drip lines are still in there, so, they’d be just fine without me “helping.” It was nice not to stress over what was dying and what was dead. Not to have to get out there two or three times a day to check for more aphids or agonize over why I couldn’t make this work, yet so many did. Walking away lifted a huge weight off my shoulders—there is very little frustration that comes with not caring.
When I finally did decide to go in there to see what was happening, I got the shock of my 2017. No hornworms. No commune of insects sitting around the tomato plants singing Kumbaya. With a natural balance of water, airflow, and temperatures, the leaves uncurled, buds appeared everywhere, and things came to life in a matter of days. The strawberries had found their happy balance—despite not having natural sparkling water. My peppers were coming back. Teeny weeny tomatoes peeked through leaves that I thought had died with the bright yellow flowers.
I have a garden!
And I’m still not eating ANY of this if it successfully sees the end of the season.
So, it seems, despite not wanting to be, I’m still very much in the game. The good news is, I’m not running the show anymore—I don’t seem to have to. This kind of gardening is right up my alley.