My wife begged me for several years about growing her own garden. As is often the case, in a moment of weakness she finally broke down my defenses and convinced me growing our own food was healthier than getting food from a foreign country laced with pesticides. I knew she was right. My male bravado kicked in, and I figured I could grow award winning fruits and vegetables. I could see that first place ribbon they award at the county fair framed and sitting in my office. It seems simple to plow some ground, plant some seeds, give it some sunshine and water, a little love, and wait for the tasty reward. I discovered it was not so simple.
It started well. I found a guy that sounded like he had a good farmer name. His name was Marvin, and I paid Marvin the farmer $50 to come and plow some ground in the back of my two and half acres. He plowed a large area, and my wife and I started the very next day planting seeds we had picked up at the local nursery. Things grew rather quickly, and it was very exciting. Then Tennessee had rain for a solid week. Everyday soaking rains. The garden really took off and along with it a lot of weeds. Thousands of weeds. Pesky weeds. Weeds that even looked like the real deal. I could simply not keep up. They overtook the garden, and destroyed almost all that was planted.
Through the waist high weeds we did have a few green beans and tomatoes that were growing. At least a few things might be salvageable. A few days passed and I decided to check on the tomatoes. I once again made my way through the jungle, and the tomatoes were gone. Completely gone. I noticed a rather strange looking worm on one of the plants. It was a horn worm. They can devour a garden in a matter of days. I did not know what a horn worm was, but I certainly do now. There were also rabbits, raccoon, and other furry woodland creatures that would congregate each morning in our garden spot adding to the frustration.
We picked enough green beans for two nights of dinner. I ate two single strawberries about the size of a dime. I spent $100 on plowing, buying seeds, stakes, and other garden supplies. I figured I ended up going $98 in the hole and that does not even count labor. I discovered through this process that some people can grow things in a garden and they are called farmers. They will sell you fully formed, professional grade, tasty vegetables at a farmers market. It is a great alternative to the weeds, critters, and cost associated with doing a garden.