I plant the seeds carefully
using rich soil and compost—
tomatoes, beets, radishes,
tatsoi, arugula, cucumber
and patty pan squash.
Then I wait.
Soon the tiny seedlings appear.
They push up through the soil,
a miracle of fragile green!
Every morning I go out,
check for two-petaled cucumber sprouts,
tatsoi’s baby leaves
and blossoms on the tomatoes.
I am blissful at the transformation,
the verdant power within seeds,
their determination to sprout and grow.
But then one morning,
I find my best tomato plant,
with its tiny fruit already forming,
The following morning the beets,
with their showy red and green leaves,
In their place stand mounds of disturbed soil.
My carefully tended garden—destroyed.
The destruction must be
coming from the outside,
through the chicken-wire cage.
I use garden cloth
to create a barrier.
The next day,
the squash plant,
its roots demolished,
wilts to the ground.
I probe under the dirt mounds
find a network of tunnels.
The culprit is inside!
These churning, twisting routes
are set in their course,
perfect in their ability to deliver the gophers
to destroy the inner garden.
They chow on my carefully tended roots,
snap off delicate leaves,
upend all my coveted creations.
I call on the Friend,
ask this inner power to help.
Shining Its light across the landscape,
It illuminates the source of the challenge,
the cause exposed.
My boyfriend and I
fearlessly flush the tunnels
with Castor oil,
peppermint oil and water.
The next day, the garden sits quiet,
no more dead plants,
no more loose dirt mounds.
I right the toppled tomato,
and though it sags a bit,
it may survive,
as may the squash.
I plant more beet and cucumber seeds,
more arugula and tatsoi.
The old, destructive tunnels collapse,
while new roots flourish,
bringing even richer growth
to my peaceful garden.
Beautiful description. We live in the country and gardening is a constant struggle between feeding us and feeding “them”. Lots of creatures. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Bob, what beautiful surrender to the abundance of Shabda available–enough to give it away. Yes, that is the attitude to foster. Thank you!
As ever I enjoy your imagery, the deviousness of gophers having taught me that, despite flushing they will return, until I accept that I can use my Master as a guardian/barrier, planting my veggies in a raised bed lined with plastic sheeting to contain precious water of life and protect my fragile roots.
Thank you, Niki, for affirming that direction. I plan to wait this season out and over the winter create a raised bed. We have one bed that is impervious to the critters, but this one, not so much! I love your Master as guardian/barrier metaphor. Will use that!
In my first garden, I planted and joyfully tended beets. Oh, how I looked forward to baby beets on my dinner table. Then I found the tops chewed off and the beets at strange angles. I pulled on only to find the entire bottom had been eaten. Rabbits on top — how they got through the screen I have no idea — and moles in the ground. I guess God blessed me by allowing me to feed his creatures. I still get my beets — only now from the produce shelf.
Haha, love you story, Bud. Yes, it does seem that gardening is but lesson after lesson in detachment. Thank God we can head to the grocery store when things go awry.
Thank you for your beautiful words Lesley. They remind me of life and that everything is round in our Universe. What comes to mind is “Surrender to the flow.”
Thank you, John, Yes, isn’t that the case. Each day come new challenges, beautiful ones, for us to learn from in this churning garden of life.
🦋, You’ve shared this experience well , dear Lesley. New recipe to me. Beautifully, gently written .
Thank you, Nancy. So great to hear from you.
What a great suggestion to use Castor oil, peppermint oil and water to save your garden from the tunneling critters.
Hi Margaret, thank you for your comment. Yes, we use a dry mixture that we order online for this. Likely, it will only work for a while, so next year we will put chicken wire under the garden. Happy gardening to you, dear soul!