I take a lot of inspiration from my neighbor Antonio, not only because he gardens what for me would be an impossibly large plot with graceful, effortless ease, but because I have also seen the results of his efforts. No matter what my tomatoes or yellow peppers look like, they are always dwarfed by his. And so winter was officially declared over, as far as I’m concerned, when I looked out the window and saw Antonio liming his land.
In the space of 5 days, it had been limed, tilled by a tractor, tilled by a hand-driven roto-tiller, and manured. That means potato planting season is right around the corner, I suspect, so I dutifully got out my spade and hoe and got to work myself. This year I’m clearing a new plot for vegetables, which means breaking ground that hasn’t been touched in decades, which is always a bit of a slog under the best of circumstances, but much worse when pervious owners used your plot of land as a garbage dump. Every spadeful of dirt made unearth a deteriorated pair of pants, a coffee spoon, an empty packet of rat poison, construction bricks, broken plates, bathroom tiles, and baling wire. No treasure.
It is a lousy job. I especially hate hoeing. But the seasons wait for no man, and if Antonio is tilling, then I’ve got no choice.