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A tough row

Agriculture.com Staff 06/27/2008 @ 12:39pm

Midsummer's Eve has passed, so it must be time to issue a report on this year's garden. You will be pleased to note that I have carefully weeded out all the expletives.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Having a garden makes zero economic sense. I have so far spent about 100 hours shedding blood, sweat and tears out in my garden, and for what? A few measly radishes, that's what!

Go to the supermarket and price a sack of radishes. Divide that sum by the number of hours I've spent toiling in my garden, broiling under the hot sun, and I'm being rewarded at the rate of a teeny fraction of a cent per hour.

The supermarket also has all that nice cantaloupe, and at a pretty good price. Plus their sweet corn is on sale; can I even grow it for that figure? Besides, don't the truck gardeners need to make a living? Who am I to try to take business away from them?

This year's garden got off to a rocky start. After eschewing gardening for many years, I suddenly developed an itch for raising some of our own victuals. If only I had applied calamine lotion instead of buying all that seed!

Our garden plot had become a profanity of weeds mixed with a blasphemy of grasses and a fulmination of alfalfa. If there were a naughty magazine that featured explicit photos of wicked weeds, our garden would have made the centerfold.

I went out early this spring and sprayed the alleged garden with a non-selective herbicide. My neighbor later came over and roto-tilled the snot out of the plot. The soil was a tad bit wet and collected on the tiller's tines in a very snot-like manner.

Armed with nothing but a hoe and hope, I marched to the gumbo garden and sowed rows that were only so-so straight.

We then went on a trip and were gone for several days. When we returned I expected that everything would be green and pretty and perky. Such was not the case.

The weather had turned wet and cold while we were gone and very little had sprouted. When it finally did warm up, the garden soil hardened to the point where it came to resemble a big honking black brick. Hitting it with my hoe would produce a loud metallic "ping!" The rumor soon spread that we were hiding a secret blacksmith shop.

But a hoe wasn't the only weapon I brought to bear in my unending War On Weeds. I also purchased from a mail order catalogue a device called a Kentucky Walking Cultivator.

The catalogue is clearly guilty of false advertising. In their ad, the KWC is being pushed by a comely young blonde lady who is wearing a beatific smile. Not a single weed can be seen behind the cultivator.

The folks who make the KWC neglected to divulge that some assembly is required. I must have struggled to put that thing together for an entire hour before I had to finally give up and read the instructions!

Another misleading factor was the comely young blonde lady. I carefully examined the box that had contained the KWC, but she was nowhere to be found.

I thus had to resort to pushing the cultivator myself. I have yet to catch myself smiling beatifically while doing so, have yet to look back to see a smooth, weedless garden.

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