My very first garden was a pot on the balcony of The Pastor’s and my first apartment. The Pot contained exactly one tomato plant. Because the apartment faced north and was on a heavily wooded lot, the tomato plant pretty much withered and died. Also, I probably didn’t water it enough. Or ever.
The next year, The Pastor and I moved into our first house. I decided to try gardening again. We tilled up almost the entire backyard of our urban lot and I put some seeds in the ground. I then forgot about them as I was a 50 hour a week teacher who was also pregnant, an awesome dog mommy, and gutting and remodeling a house. That fall the neighbors were seriously complaining about the house with the jungle of five foot tall weeds. I realized that that home was mine. Another failure.
For four more summers I attempted to garden. I failed miserably each time. It turns out that weeds are incredibly tough. So tough that by mid June I would usually throw up my hands in defeat and go to the beach. Then, one year, I informed The Pastor that I was going to succeed that year.
“The problem is that I am trying to plant things in places that are already home to all of the weeds. If you were to make me some raised garden beds, I would be planting in virgin land and I could win my war against the weeds!”
The Pastor was skeptical.
I was persuasive.
Finally, The Pastor gave in and built me four small garden boxes. We set them in the yard, I filled them with clean soil and seeds, I watered and weeded them regularly, and lo and behold, the curse of the brown thumb was lifted. I grew both beans AND sunflowers successfully. I know. I was practically Martha Stewart.
This got me very excited. That winter The Pastor and I designed a HUGE garden of raised beds. It was carefully designed with a maze of paths, trellises, and enough space to grow the food to feed our family for a year.
I felt very confident.
That summer, my two oldest sons and I filled the boxes with dirt. We planted the seeds. And then… well… we may have forgotten about the garden for a few weeks. Or maybe I had a baby. It’s all kind of foggy. At any rate, when I went out to my garden again that summer to check on the progress of things, the five foot weeds were back. I stared at all of those weeds. Then I went back into the house because my favorite way of solving problems is to ignore them until they go away. It turns out that unless your problems are all Jehovah’s Witnesses, this is probably not the best solution.
Wait, Snarky, this blog is all fine and everything, but you promised me a blog about bunnies. I can see some cute fuzzy bunnies on the featured picture. When do we get to the bunnies?
Wrong. I promised you a blog about rabbits. There is a difference. I’m getting there.
It was at this point that a cycle started that would continue for the next ten years. Every spring I would clean out all of the garden boxes. I would add a layer of compost. I would plant seeds. Then I would leave for a day (or thirty) and come back to five foot weeds, get overwhelmed, and walk away until the next year.
It wasn’t really a cycle that I was happy with.
This year, things changed.
This year, I used rabbits.
No, Snarky! Rabbits don’t help with gardens! Rabbits EAT gardens! Rabbits could not possibly help your gardening experience go any better!
Oh, but they did! Here is how it worked.
You see, my problem is that I was getting overwhelmed with the weeding. This year, while doing my annual gardening clean up, I remembered that we raise rabbits. Some of these rabbits are super soft show quality rabbits that you could even call bunnies. The other rabbits are used for… other things and should never be called bunnies. Unless you want to cry while eating your enchiladas.
Anyway, I was pulling up weeds and thinking about how I still needed to feed the rabbits (and also the bunnies). Suddenly, I looked down at the crabgrass that I was pulling up and thought “I wonder if the rabbits would enjoy this?”
It turned out that not only did they enjoy it, they couldn’t get enough of it! They were so happy that every day I would go out to the garden and pull up some weeds for them, just so I could see the look of joy in their little faces as they nibbled away at crabgrass and dandelions.
Then, suddenly, I noticed something. My plants were actually starting to grow! Not only that, They were thriving! I have already harvested one entire bed of radishes and another of arugula. I have more peas than I would have ever thought those plants could provide! My tomato plants are huge and have tiny tomatoes all over them! I haven’t even killed the eggplants! Most importantly, there are no five foot weeds. As a matter of fact, some days it’s hard to find enough little weeds to make all of the rabbits happy. All I had to do was stop looking at the weeds as some impossible battle I had to face and instead see them as rabbit food. A little something I do every day. Something I kind of enjoy because I like happy animals.
This made me wonder. How many other impossible tasks do people give up on because we are looking at them wrong? Exercising? Cleaning? School? Solving issues such as homelessness? How can changing one small perspective make a huge difference? What are your ideas? Comment below and share them with the rest of us!