First of all…why we should not, perhaps.
We will not make savings. Scallions from South America and Tomatoes from Israel will continue to be cheap and widely available.
If we have tunnels our water bill will give us the heebie jeebies. We will be called to the garden hose daily like a discipline. But sometimes when that silver arc of water hits a rainbow shaft of sunlight what inspirations will spring in our hearts.
We will be plagued with weeds.
They will grow over night, and defy us, reminding us of rampant thoughts that invade the mind. There will never be an end to them Some of the weeds will be ugly, sense-defying monsters.
Others, like horsetail, will threaten to bring the efforts of decades to naught as they rampage through the soil. Some of the weeds however will be beautiful and when we see them we will get that momentary ”spirit shocking wonder” that Patrick Kavanagh mentioned.
And as soon as we weed a bed nice and clean, the cats will arrive like haughty queens and shit in it.
But we will also meet frogs and lizards at very unexpected moments. Birds too who sit on the handle of the fork. Robins who have never learned to fear a human.
There will be a constant mess. Weeds stacked up to the heavens in compost heaps, piles of dung that are dark and stinky, nettle water that curls our nose, chicken manure that makes us gag, tools left scattered (dangerously!) and jobs half done, tunnels ripped by winter storms and doors askew.
But we will have potatoes. Better than any potatoes we can buy.
And in the mess we will find endless sprigs of brocolli.
Some plants will refuse to grow. Only ten percent of our carrot seed will sprout, the rest will be carried off by ants, and we will have to reseed times without number. And the ants will laugh at us. Slugs too. Slugs smile in delight at our paltry efforts.
Other plants will run amok and we will have so many of random items like mangetout that we cannot bear to eat another one. Ditto with courgettes, string beans, radishes. Our friends will run when they see us coming because they fear we bring them marrows.
Our beloved strawberries will straggle and grow old and we know they will have to be laid to rest. But some of their young will thrive and heave with the promise of summer.
And let us know that soon, soon, we will be rich beyond measure.
We should not plant a garden for fun and ease for thus we will be tormented. We should plant a garden in remembrance. We should hold onto old crafts and ancient ways in memory of those countless ancestors who dove into virgin earth and made it friable, those unknown ones who nurtured strange looking weeds to make them edible, those silent seers who watched the turn of the heavens to know the times to sow and check and harvest.
We should tend a garden so as not to forget.
As an added bonus for certain people, the cabbage never tells…