The Middle

The title of this blog was supposed to be:
What a Difference a Little Hay Makes

A pithy entry about how my usual weedy mess of a garden had been transformed into an efficient vegetable machine.

“An inch, that’ll keep the weeds away!” That’s what the friendly guy at the farm supply store told me as he helped carry two large bags of heat cured hay. “Guaranteed to keep weeds away!”

I laid down two inches and here’s what I got:

Yup. Here I am, again. In the middle—of summer, of my garden, of a weedy mess.

“One hour,” I say, to the weeds, as though they are listening. 

I enter, donning my high rubber boots and immediately notice that someone else has been here.  Could it be…

Rob? No. The garden is not his domain. 

Our new neighbors in the back offended by the weedy view from their kitchen window? Nah. That would be weird and they’re too nice.

That leaves one, more likely source. My superstar neighbor—the one who tills our large adjoining plot in the spring and thoughtfully leaves his leftover plants on my side. The one who mows his yard every five days, then carefully tucks leftover grass clippings between his budding plants. The one who did not waste thirty dollars on designer hay. The one whose garden has NO weeds. 

Thankfully the path he’s forged is just enough. To see my way in. 
I start with the earthy, sweet tomatoes. (Someone really should bottle that scent.) Then on to the eternally upbeat squash. Their bright yellow flowers smile encouragingly, seeming to say, “See! We’re okay!” 

Next, the small patch of carrots—secondary characters in this cast of produce personalities—they're thriving despite the forest of tangles all around them. I do my best to guide their path before moving on to the defiant gang of pesky peppers, steadfast in their unwillingness to grow.

At the end of the hour, I stand back to admire my work and the MANY weeds still standing.

Yes, despite best intentions, this year’s garden is another Work-in-Progress.

A beautiful green and yellow, soon-to-be-red reminder that things are messiest, in the middle. That, with a little faith (and sun and rain and the kindness of neighbors)—the harvest is surely on its way.