It was our first vegetable garden together and, hopefully, it was going to be a good one. Marilyn and I just wanted to grow a few tomato, pepper, and cucumber plants. We picked a sunny location in the back yard, then measured out a plot about fifteen feet by six feet.

“Hand me the shovel” I said, as if those words were the official proclamation to begin the project. Marilyn handed me the shovel while giving me that “I-hope-he-doesn’t-think-he’s-going-to-tell-me-what-to-do-all-day” look. Getting a good grip on the handle, I plunged the shovel into the soil. About half an inch in. That soil was as hard as granite. I could not even begin to loosen the soil.

“No problem, I know just what to do.” I said, while wondering what to do.

“Are you sure?” she questioned.

“Yea, we’ll just…uh.. we’ll just…. moisten the ground, that’s all there is to it, no problem. “Turn on the hose and bring it here.” I asked Marilyn. “It‘s over there.” she said, while pointing toward the hose. I got the hose, turned it on, and proceeded to water our future garden. And guess what, that idea did work a little. I watered some more, and waited for the soil to soften.

After a few hours of digging and adding various amendments, (peat, composted manure, fertilizer, etc.) we were ready to plant. I made a few neat rows to plant cucumber seeds.

“Seeds.” I said, while holding out my hand. Marilyn handed me three different packets of cucumber seeds, all three packets were a different variety of cuke.

Intending to dazzle her with my knowledge of gardening, I said “See Sweetie, the reason we’re growing three differ…”

“How long till they’re ready to pick?” she asked.

“Says here 60 days.” I said “Now the reason we’re growing three differ..”

“Do you think the tomatoes will turn out good.?” she interrupted. “And how ‘bout the peppers?”

By now I didn’t even know why we were growing three different kinds of cucumbers. So I planted the seeds and planted the tomato and pepper plants, and all was good in the garden.

A couple of months later we were eating cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and feeling proud of our efforts. Each year we added more peat, manure, compost, and other amendments to the soil and each year the garden soil improved. Now we have excellent soil in the garden and we also grow many more kinds of veggies.

All of the work was worth it that first day, preparing the soil. By the time we finished we were tired and hungry. Marilyn went to the kitchen and made us each a sandwich, which we ate on the back porch. “Hey, could you get me an iced tea?” I politely asked Marilyn. She gave me that look. I went upstairs and got us both an iced tea.         And all was good in the garden.