Spring is here, the time for planting gardens. Some years I plant them, some I don’t. This year I did because of the price of gasoline.

I get crazy ideas like that from time to time. I once chose the car I was going to buy based on the trip I was about to take. It was a long trip and I thought I might save a few dollars by sleeping in my car rather than staying in a hotel room. That’s why I chose a Toyota Matrix, because you could put all the seats down. Once level, a good sleeping bag could fit inside quite comfortably. Sadly, I have never used that ability after two years of owning the car. But that’s me. A whim catches me up, and I take it all the way to the end, even if it is silly.

As gas prices have pushed toward four dollars, I decided there had to be some way to combat the extra money that was going into the tank. My solution? A great big garden. I love vegetables. I love salads. Not only are these things healthy, but I think they taste pretty good too. Normally, I buy my fresh produce at the grocery store, but not after my money saving idea. My new grocery store is in my back yard. See how whims can take me, as if I plant enough onions I can somehow stop my own personal recession. I can plant enough onions and tomatoes to last me all summer, and if I learn how to preserve, maybe even the winter!

For my garden, I went out and bought every kind of vegetable imaginable, even vegetables I don’t eat like okra. Some I started indoors in little trays of dirt, faithfully watering them and turning them every day so that they didn’t grow crooked. Of course, as soon as I transplanted them outdoors, they died.

When it warmed up, I rented a rototiller. That was a good idea because the amount of land I determined to clear would have taken all summer and fall just to hoe and weed, let alone plant. The rototiller was a lot of fun. It hummed and vibrated like I was holding my own jet engine. I finished in the early afternoon and still that evening it felt like my limbs were jouncing about at the end of the tiller’s handles.

As I hacked at the dirt, dreaming of the splendid rows of impossibly tall plants (Like Jack’s beanstalk that stretched up into the clouds. I wonder how many green beans he got from that?) and the fabulous fruits that I was going to be picking and enjoying all summer, I realized several things.

No matter how many times you remove the rocks, more keep coming up. It’s as if there is a giant under the ground laughing when I pluck one away and he just pushes another up through the soil. How true though. Every hurdle, every hard place I seem to overcome, another awaits me in the future.

Even the best soil becomes poor when nothing is added to it. That’s like me too.

You don’t have to plant weeds. They come naturally. And you never come to a point where the weeds just suddenly stop growing. I wish real life weeds could be plucked as easily as plant weeds.

Weeds left alone choke out the good fruit, especially the quantity and size of the fruit.

Seeds are so small! I mean, to get tomatoes, I don’t have to plant a tomato. I just plant this little seed the size of a hangnail. And to get onions or an ear of corn, I don’t have to plant an onion or an ear of corn. I just have to plant the smallest seed. Doesn’t everything seem to start small?

The flowers in the fields and the leaves on the trees grow every year with no planting. But if I want fruit, I have to labor anew each year. That’s like any business it seems. You always have to keep planting. They don’t grow of their own accord.

There is only one season for planting. Only one season for reaping. And then you get to enjoy the fruits during the cold, dark winter months. Boy, that means I have to take advantage of my chances when they are there.

Who thought one could learn so much from a crazy whim!

© Seth Crossman