The Obsessive Gardener

“The average gardener probably knows little about what is going on in his or her garden.” — Ken Thompson 

This is an ugly garden. Unlike the garden that was planted by a child and her mother in Grace Lin‘s book, The Ugly Vegetables, the garden pictured above was planted by an obsessive gardener — also known as my husband. 

Each year he spends hours pondering what he should plant, and each year he plants the same things ─ tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, kohlrabi, and peas. He makes sure he plants every seed in every packet. All goes well until we leave on vacation, and like teenagers left home alone, the garden goes wild! Weeds become uninvited guests. Tomatoes bully the peas. Beans and cucumbers do the “vegetable tango,” and radishes turn into baseballs. When we finally return home, the nice neat rows of vegetables no longer exist. Instead, a raging green mess threatens to overtake the yard.

It takes hours of hard labor to get the garden back to looking its best. (I know. I’ve watched my husband work.) Then the harvest begins.

This is not a zucchini. It’s an overgrown cucumber. A normal cucumber looks like the one below. Compare the two.


This is one picking of beans.

And then there are the peas — the ones bullied by the hundreds of tomatoes we have growing. It took me forever to pick and shell the pea pickin’ peas, and this is all we got!

Besides the pitiful peas, each year we have an overabundance of overgrown vegetables. My husband is very generous with the harvest, but, lately, I’ve noticed neighbors run when they see him coming. What’s for dinner at our house? Vegetarian!

Comment from the obsessive gardener:  “Next year I’m cutting back.”

Yeah, sure.

Get your kids started on veggies now!  The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons (Holiday House, 2008), Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres (Candlewick, 2008), My Garden by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow Books, February 2010), Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert (Sandpiper, 1991)

Explore posts in the same categories: Laughter, Life

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One Comment on “The Obsessive Gardener”

  1. […] official. I am living with the Jolly Green Giant–also known as the obsessive gardener. The obsession has gotten worse. Take a look at the size of tomatoes the green giant brings into […]

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