When I decided to move into my adorable little rental house, a small but significant part of why I chose this particular location was the fact that the backyard had a large plot for gardening. Warning: bit of a rant ahead.
At first I was told by (let’s call this person) The Overseer that the garden space, if used, was not to become an “eyesore.” No problem, I thought! That winter (2016-17) I mapped out the entire plot and purchased seeds accordingly. I was excited and so happy about the prospect of expanding my gardening experience and blogging even more, and even began putting out feelers for sponsorship opportunities. I started my cold crops (radishes, spinach, kale) and when little seedlings started breaking through the garden soil I was elated.
Then, Setback #1.
The Overseer announced one day that he would be tilling up the entire garden plot. Not only would he be tilling it all up, he would also be planting grass seed on two thirds of the plot, beginning at the western-most end I had carefully chosen to plant my cold weather seeds because it received the most sunny hours of the day during the shorter days of spring. This really deflated my motivation and took the wind right out of my gardening sails. I was already going through a very tough time (divorce, custody dispute, new and challenging job) and needed the therapeutic benefits and focus of throwing myself into gardening. After a few weeks, and a nosedive into a long break from blogging, I brushed my shoulders off and revamped my garden map to fit into the newly defined smaller plot.
Setback #2 came in the form of a snide comment from The Overseer. Let me back up for minute and preface this one with a few other incidents–just a couple among many. For Valentine’s Day I had hung a wreath on the front door, using one of those over-the-door hangers. A day or two after doing so, I was approached by The Overseer and was told I was defeating the purpose of the seal around the door and to take the wreath down. Let’s nevermind the fact that the door is not at all airtight, but that millimeter of space on either side of the inch-wide door hanger probably upped my heating bill by several cents! I internally rolled my eyes and took the damn wreath down. Backing up even further, when I moved in that previous November, I took time to organize all of my storage bins in the garage by category. One day later that month, I received an email from The Overseer stating that he’d kindly reorganized my bins to better utilize the garage space so I had more room. Can I just tell you how much unstacking and restacking had to be done to get out my Christmas tree/ornaments/decor a couple weeks later? And, boundary issues, much?
So, fast forward to spring. I have sown seeds, planted starts, and we’re receiving plenty of rain so things are coming along with the garden. Of course the weeds began to compete, and of course as I was working full time, out of town three days a week, I fell behind on weeding. One day while I was working remotely/from home, I ditched lunch break to go outside and spend some time weeding. When I weed, I pull up the entire thing, roots and all. I’m sitting there weeding, minding my own business, trying to get some zen time, when suddenly The (Ninja) Overseer pops into view and says, “Hey there, ‘Master Gardener,’ you’re never going to get all this weeding done the way you’re doing it. Here is a hand hoe, this is how it works: you just scrape slightly under the surface of the soil and tear the weeds off. You can do this entire plot in an hour.” Now, perhaps I should’ve been grateful and thanked my hero profusely, but I was rather annoyed at the sarcasm in his voice as he said “master gardener,” and further annoyed at the mansplanation of how to use a tool since the implication/assumption was obviously that I neither knew what one was nor how to use it, despite my “master gardener” status.
Fine. I made the best of it. I used the tool. I created a YouTube channel for Her Emerald Thumb and did a demonstration of it there and on Instagram. But it was at this point I started to feel incredibly creeped out and like I was constantly being watched, and that this place was DEFINITELY NOT my territory. As if the significant chunk of my income I was giving The Overseer every month was like paying my rent to a parent. As if I were an incapable child. I didn’t enjoy the garden at all last summer. It was a source of stress and tension for me as every time I went out there I felt like I was being observed and critiqued. This year I vowed to myself not to let anyone make me feel weird and to choose my reaction and attitude. I bought new seed starting trays and began planning the garden again. This time would be different! This time would be what I needed it to be.
Record scratch. Setback #3 ensued two days ago when I received the following email from The Overseer: (This is in response to me asking proactively if I could use the same section of garden so I could go ahead with starting my seeds.)
“As far as the garden goes, I had kept the tiller behind at my place so I could till up that spot in March or April so I could plant grass seed. Couldn’t you just do container gardening? I’d rather just get that area back in grass seed.”
Bless your little heart, Mr. Overseer. Of COURSE I can just do container gardening! In fact, the more you paint me into a corner, the more I will use my industrious nature to overcome all of the obstacles you’ve set in place. I always did like a challenge.
Stay tuned, y’all, for some EPIC container gardening adventures. When life hands you garbage, make compost.