Gardens and Stuff

My husband and I, well, technically, our whole family, is trying something new. It's called square foot gardening. Apparently it's the easiest thing in the world, and once the set-up is done, there's no weeding or anything, and then you can have fresh vegetables (or whatever you want) for the rest of your life. So today I walked into a nursery for maybe the second time in my life, ever. I have never felt so incompetent as when I walked through those doors. I have never gardened in my life. I can recognize weeds from flowers, but not with anything resembling 100% (or possibly even 50%) accuracy. I actually had to go to two nurseries, since the first was was too exotic to stock things like 'carrot seeds' so I headed to another place. I found the vegetable plants, found some seeds, and today we stuck them in the ground. I have no idea how it's going to turn out. The whole thing is exciting and scary at the same time, because, here's the thing: I HATE, like really, truly, HATE feeling incompetent. That feeling, you know, like everybody knows more than you do, and you just have to pretend that you know what you're talking about, and hoping the cashier at the nursery doesn't wonder at the stange selection you just picked out, because, seriously, who buys those particular plants at this particular time of year, and forgets this tool or that pesticide? Do you know that feeling? Shopping for plants gives me that feeling. Shopping for food used to give me that feeling. When I was first married, I headed to the store looking for chicken stock, and came home with chicken gravy, because I had no clue what chicken stock was. (It's not the same thing.) And now, while I am not the chef my Dh is (thank heavens for his cooking abilities), I did make my own beef jerky, (very proud of that one) and I am completely confident that given enough time, I can handle most any recipe. I had that feeling when I first was a mom, too. Look at everyone else - they know how to do it. They know what to shop for, they know how to get their babies to stop crying, they know how to change a diaper in 5 seconds flat. Well, now I can do that. I can even change a diaper one handed, while talking on the phone. So I know I can do this, too. But that initial feeling of incompetence is almost enough to make me not want to try. After all, those who don't try never look foolish. That feeling has kept me from trying so far. But this year is my year. I'm getting lots of help, but I'm reclaiming my yard. Sometimes I feel like my vegetables belong in the movie the Princess Bride: "They'll never survive." But I just perk myself up with "Nonsense. You're just saying that because [nothing I've grown] ever has."


Anonymous Mary said...

I definitely felt the same way about becoming a mom. It seemed like I was the only one who felt clueless and overwhelmed.

A friend and I are taking a cake decorating class and today will be our first day actually decorating a cake. Last night we spent a few hours making the required icing and cakes and got to talking about being nervous about being the only one who looked like she didn't know what she was doing. It's silly, really, since it is a beginner's class, so we are all there to learn, but each of us admitted that we didn't want to look like the worst decorator there. Is this just a girl thing?

4/25/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Maralise said...

I feel similarly quite often, Wiz. It seems that everyone MUST feel this way at certain times in their lives. And yet, it doesn't feel like everyone is as incompetent as I am. So, I've concluded that some people just fake it better. And if that works for them, great. But, sometimes I think it's good to feel stupid. Maybe if we never feel stupid or incompetent, we'll never know how good it is to KNOW what we have learned along the way.

Good luck with your garden. I am trying to get up the courage to do the same thing. I'm a suburban Utahn in the forests of Virginia trying to decide which foot-tall thing in my yard is a beautiful plant and which is a devious weed bound to destroy my entire "lawn." (Virginia lawns aren't exactly grass per se, just a bunch of green stuff that I'm quite unsure of which is supposed to reside there and which is not) AUGH!!!

4/25/2006 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Amber said...

That looks really cool! We are planning to plant a garden for the first time ever this summer and that looks like a great option. Thanks for including the link (though is wearing that dorky hat requisite in the success of your garden?.... :-)

4/25/2006 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Allison said...

That looks like the answer to all my veggie gardening dreams. Awesome. Thanks for the link.

4/25/2006 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Gardening is just trial and error. You plant something, it doesn't work, you figure out why, and move on. And the good thing is that nobody calls child protective services if you neglect your plants.

Best garden advice--head to home depot and pick up a couple of "All about..." books. (I think they're by Ortho, but I'm not sure).They cost 20 bucks, are super user friendly, and end up being a great reference when you have questions about anything.

I'm SO jealous! I miss our garden (sniff).

4/25/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Em said...

Hey Everyone! Tracy (Dandelion Mama) finally had her baby (Maybe is now definitely a girl)!

4/25/2006 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

There is a god....Hooray! I hope everything went ok.

4/25/2006 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Lacey said...

My husband and I just planted our first garden this year, and it was with the square for gardening method. Already we have lots of plants growing and some seeds are doing nothing. Carrots are the most delicate little plant I've ever seen, and beans are the best. Anyways, the year is still early, and as my mother-in-law told us, don't be discouraged if it doesn't completely work out, you learn from experience when is the best time to plant and what works out the best in your climate. Of course I live in a desert, and tomatoes is the most popular plant around here. I'm hoping my summer squash takes off and I get lots of green beans. (My two favorite veggies, fruits, or whatever you want to classify them as. ;)
Good Luck

4/26/2006 02:15:00 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

So I just planted to of these 4x4 gardens. I do so want it to be true. . . . . .

4/28/2006 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Oops. I meant TWO of these (would you know I'm an editor)?

4/28/2006 09:28:00 PM  

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