Remember how I was complaining that a half-dozen college guys moved in next door? And how I was bracing myself for frat parties every night? I don't want to jinx anything, but the school year just ended and not a single frat party was had. Also, get this, those same college guys are building the most amazing garden in the front yard.
It all started when one of them came by to ask if they could borrow a shovel. Theirs had broken and they were in the throws of a major garden construction project. At least that's what the fresh-faced youth said. I was reluctant to give up my shovel as I assumed "garden" was code for "secret keg storage bunker." But my shovel was right there, we could both see it, so I couldn't exactly say we didn't have one. He returned it promptly and then the project was abandoned for weeks. Typical, I thought. Even the promise of icy cold beverages buried deep in the earth couldn't sustain the efforts of the slacker generation.
Then, last week, that same kid emerged with tub after tub of seedlings. Nah, seedlings imply puny little green sprouts. These were sprouts on steroids. They looked like beanstalks fit for a giant. Spinach, kale, sunflowers. Five-gallon buckets full of mystery plants were suspended from the beams of the porch, vines cascading down between the columns.
What the hell? Do they have grow lights in the basement? My own sprouts emerge only tentatively and in the feeblest of fashions. Our yard adjacent to theirs consists of massive weeds and unruly raspberry canes mixed in with the remnants of our demolished upstairs porch scattered everywhere. The only thing growing at the moment is our pile of white trash.
Meanwhile, just over the property line, raised beds were being built. Terracing was carved into the hill. The term "hardening off" was used, and not in the way I expected a college guy to use it.
So why am I over here acting all pissy about such a positive development?
I'll tell you why. Because for years my story about why I'm such a crappy gardener has been that that our yard is not suitable for gardening--not enough sun, poor and rocky soil, north-facing slope. It's the shitty terroir, not me. Then along come these whippersnappers who recreate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon a mere three feet away. They've single-handedly ruined my cover.
I've been doing pretty well with the school garden of late, or so I thought, but now I totally have to up my game. Come September, we'll see who has the better garden, them or me.
It's on, College Boys!