After tilling the ground the first night, we dumped a mix of topsoil and peat on top of the yard dirt and raked it to a smooth, gently-sloped pile. I had wandered downstairs to our basement and located a rake and an old hoe, and brought those up to use as we mixed the new and old dirt together to create our empty bed. By the time that was done, we were completely out of light, so we left it for the next evening.
“I’ll come home from work as quickly as I can,” I said. “Then we can eat dinner and we should still have a couple of hours of light left for planting.”
But when I pulled up to the front of the house that Monday night, I caught a glimpse of Steve out there working. It even looked like there were some plants already in place. I rushed inside, through the apartment, and out the back door.
“I just need to change, and then I can help,” I said. “I’ll be right there.”
Steve waved from the garden, then went back to planting.
I forgot completely about dinner in my rush to get back outside, and I grabbed a pair of gloves on the way down the back stairs. “What can I do? What can I do?” This was a joint endeavor, and I wanted to be part of it.
“Well, we’re going to have to dig more bed,” Steve said.
This was not in my plan for the evening. “What do you mean, more bed?” The space we had tilled already looked awfully big to me, and I feared our landlord’s reaction the next time he stopped by.
“It’s not big enough. We still have the eggplant and the cucumber and the zucchini to put in.”
And so, much like the previous night, we began again. Steve dug, I separated grass from dirt and bagged up the waste material. We hauled bags of topsoil and peat. We raked and hoed and mixed, and shortly, we had an extension of the original bed.
“I want to plant something,” I said. “It’s my turn to plant.”
Steve chuckled. “Now you’re all interested in putting something in the ground, are you?”
“I’m just saying,” I said. “I should get a turn with the planting.”
So Steve stepped back while I put in the rest of the plants. Yes, that’s right. I actually put things in the ground. I know plenty of people who wouldn’t believe it if there wasn’t photographic evidence. I emailed the photo below to my parents, and my father said, “I love the blue gloves and the manic intensity on the face.” Yes, manic intensity. That’s pretty much how it is.
Photo credit (for the ones of me with manic intensity): Steve McNutt