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Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Dear Abby"

We planted a week ago and have not been encouraged.

The Sunday morning after we planted was glorious. The tomato plants had lifted their leaves to the heavens and the jalapeno plants already had small blossoms. So we went to church and praised along with them.

Then we came back.

We saw disaster looming -- leaves had wilted, stalks were bending.

Everything seemed to grow worse as the week went on.

We have many friends and family members who garden, so they offered lots of different advice. The trouble that I was having was trying to diagnose exactly what the problem could be so that I would know whose advice to follow.

So today, I made a desperate plea. I don't know "Abby"of "Dear Abby" fame, but I do know Tyler, whom I will henceforth refer to as Dr. Tyler for the care-giving advice he supplied.

Dr. Tyler was originally just playing delivery man. He had a dish we had left at church once and offered to bring it to our house. I accepted and begged my friend, whom I know to be a home gardening semi-expert, to come and look at our deplorable garden during his visit.

(Sorry Dr. Tyler, if "semi-expert" is not correct. Perhaps expert would have proven more accurate?)

When Dr. Tyler arrived at our house, he set my green baking dish on the kitchen counter then headed for the garden. It was as if he could sense the need for his talents...

...or maybe he saw the sad condition of my tomatoes and peppers through the open kitchen blinds.

The doctor squatted down next to the raised vegetable garden and started running his fingers though the dirt to check the moisture. It reminded me of Bill Paxton from Twister picking up the dirt in his hand and letting it fall through the air to watch wind movements.

Instincts. That is what I lack.

Dr. Tyler said the garden looked dry and recommended a change in our watering routine, so tonight we picked up a new sprinkler. No more watering from a hand sprayer.

He also helped us to replant our tomato plants. He said that the stems still looked healthy, so we shouldn't give up hope just yet. (We were ready to buy new plants and start all over again.)

The prognosis was more promising than I had hoped. I figured I would be told to replant and that I was doing several things wrong. I was even ready to start searching for a therapist that could help me with all of my insecurities as a gardener. (I had begun to avoid looking at the garden because of how pathetic it looked.) Instead, we have a new sprinkler and a friendly neighbor to come and advise us as we grow our first crops. The tomatoes and peppers aren't out of the woods yet, but the situation looks much more promising.

Happy Sunday, everyone!



Note: Dr. Tyler is not a real doctor. However, I hear that what he lacks in medical knowledge he makes up for in style and personality.

Second Note: Dr. Tyler will not be referred to as Dr. Tyler outside of this blog. (Sorry, Tyler. Didn't want to get your hopes up, but thanks for the help!)

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