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Famous Last Words

Part 1--Spring

Next year in the garden I won't plant my seeds too early just because I am excited by a warm day in April. I will wear a long sleeve shirt while pruning roses, raspberries, and blackberries. I will open seed packets the right way so that they reseal. I won't just rip off the tops, then wonder why my pockets are filled with spilled seed.

Next year in the garden I will read the instructions before planting the seeds. That is, I will read the instructions IF I remember my reading glasses. Gardening is yet one more activity that now requires those damn things.

Next year in the garden I won't read the newspapers as I lay down the mulch, and I will take off my muddy boots before coming into the kitchen.

I won't shout "Ignition!" when I see the first green dots of germination. I won't pump my first and say "Yes!" when green shoots of garlic poke through the hay. I will take it in stride, with the right stuff of a master gardener.

Next year in the garden I will keep detailed records of what I do, when, and where. I won't mark planted rows with little sticks and kid myself that I will remember what I planted.

And I won't plant too many zucchini, or too few. I promise.

Part II--Summer

Next year in the garden I won't wander out after showering and changing clothes to admire my work and bend down to pluck just one errant weed, because I've learned that one good weed deserves another.

I won't work with my shirt off, even though it feels so good, because I know the sun is bad for me. I will always put on sun screen (SPF 45 and wear a wide-brimmed hat.

I will make myself smile by singing "Inch by inch, row by row...", and not once will I think about the Dow Jones Industrial Average. I will, however, wonder who the Red Sox will use as a fifth starter and marvel at the ability of David Ortiz to deliver in the clutch.

Next year in the garden I will do successive plantings so that I always have tender lettuce. I won't say "What the heck" and empty the rest of the packet.

I won't plant peas in August that don't have a prayer of bearing fruit before the frost. Next year in the garden I won't curse potato bugs, but will accept my responsibility for the pests I attract. I will outwit potato bugs by not planting potatoes. Next year, that is.

I will de-sucker the tomatoes religiously, and I will build those groovy bent-wood trellises I saw in the gardening magazine. I will say a prayer when I eat the first red fruit.

I won't let the rogue squash grow, thinking it might turn out to be the elusive "great pumpkin."

Next year in the garden, at least once, I will strip off all my clothes, lie spread-eagled in the dirt and say "Take me, God, I'm yours!" Then I will take a an outdoor shower, scrubbing every noon and cranny, and feel like the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

Part III--Fall

Next year in the garden, as I pull weeds, I won't think that I coined the phrase "Nature abhors a vacuum." (Who did coin that phrase, if not me?).

I won't wonder why I planted mustard greens.

I will wear a long-sleeve shirt while pruning the roses. Did I already say that?

I won't start the chipper-shredder "just to see if it will start," then put through a sunflower stalk "just to see what happens," especially when I am just killing time before we go out to dinner.

Next year I won't bore visitors with extensive garden tours, filled with eloquent soliloquies on the virtues of compost. I won't describe myself as the "poor man's Eliot Coleman."

I will pick the chard before it becomes tough and stringy.

I won't stand speechless before a ten foot sunflower and marvel at the memory of pressing a single seed into the soil with my thumb. I won't laugh out loud when I see three blue jays hanging upside own on the foot-wide seed pods, possessed by gluttony.

I won't be disappointed when the Sox fall by the wayside, because I know there is always next year.

Next year in the garden, I will cover at the hint of frost.

I will plant my bulbs and garlic before the ground freezes, but I won't cover them with mulch until the ground is hard and critter-proof.

I won't pretend not to be disappointed when my garlic and cherry tomatoes fail to score ribbons at the Tunbridge World's Fair.

Next year in the garden I won't break into Joni Mitchell's "Urge for Going" when I see a chevron overhead.

Part IV--Winter

Next year in the garden I won't get delusional when I see this year's seeds on sale. I won't buy enough to feed all of central Vermont and I won't think I'm a rich man as I flip through the colorful packets in January. I won't question why I bought two types of turnips. I hate turnip.

I won't delude myself into thinking I can grow seven varieties of pepper from seed.

I won't buy seeds for inedible greens with exotic Japanese names.

I will store my squash properly, so they don't rot.

I will give gifts of garlic and elderberry wine as if I am bestowing frankincense and myhrr (even though the elderberry wine sucks). I won't take it personally when I see how cheap garlic is at Costco

I won't check the mail for the first seed catalog the day after Christmas.

I will think good thoughts when we eat last summer's pesto.

Next year in the garden I won't think I am part of life's great cycle just because I pee on the frozen compost.

Stephen Morris

Stephen Morris is the Editor and Publisher of Green Living: A Practical Journal for Friends of the Environment

Reprinted with permission from The New Village Green Living Light, Living Local, Living Large By Stephen Morris and the Editors of Green Living

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