Saturday, May 24, 2014

Why Cliff and I can't garden together

Many years ago Cliff and I learned that we are incapable of working in the garden together.  Sharing the garden work endangers our marriage.  Once in a blue moon I forget how little it takes for us to disagree on gardening matters, and ask him for a hand.  Now please don't think I'm trying to put Cliff in a bad light.  It's just that we are very different in our attitudes.  

For instance, his shop is neat and immaculate at all times.  Pliers are in a certain drawer.  Open-end and box-end wrenches are carefully placed on a pegboard in order of size.  Screws are sorted and sized.  You get the picture.  Meanwhile, in the house you will find clutter of various kinds, dust on the furniture, and dishes in the sink.  Because I'm in charge.  

For tomato cages, I drive steel T-posts in the ground by every plant and put a home-made cage made from six-foot-tall fencing.  Cliff makes them for me as needed, and that is something he can do that doesn't cause disagreement.  Usually I drive the fence posts myself, but this year, due to lack of rain, I asked Cliff to do it.  We got a little rain today, which probably helped the effort, and he drove the first post.  Instead of driving the next post, he started to wire the cage to the post.  

The only wire Cliff put in place before our falling-out
"Cliff," I said, "I'll do that.  You just drive the posts.  I don't use the wires." 

"But it's easier to take the cages off when you're done with them this way."  

"But I'm the one who does that, and I don't mind." 

"Well that's what I get for trying to help," he answered.  "I get beat up for helping."  

Here's how I do it.  Not as neat, but it works, and in the fall I don't need wire cutters to take it away.

"I prefer to just put the cage wires inside and outside the post, and I don't have to use wires to secure it."  

He went on with his post-pounding then, and by the time he finished, we seemed to be on speaking terms.  

The thing is, he worries about appearance.  He likes the corn plants marching like soldiers across the garden, exactly six inches apart.  A crooked row gives him nightmares.  If too many weeds get ahead of the vegetables, the whole garden gets plowed up.  This is why I try my best to keep him out of the garden, and it is why he sincerely tries to stay out of it.    

So, I once again make a note to myself not to ask Cliff for help.  For the last couple of years I've driven the posts in with a post-driver myself, and I think it would be good for my marriage if I do it in the future.    


  1. I understand. I'm the neat freak and John, well John is John. I had to grit my teeth last week. I'm in charge of the tomatoes this year and he moved one of them and now it looks like it's dying. I have finally faced the fact I need not clean his room. I keep the rest of his house and ignore (try to) his room. Then I have my own house across the street when someone comes. Crazy I know but it works for me.

  2. This made me smile. I understand completely.

  3. Those are some unique tomato cages. I guess that if that is all you disagree about it's not a bad thing...Glad you got some rain there. We've finally been dry here for a couple of days and the farmers are thankful for it. Many couldn't plow as the fields were standing in water. May was a very wet month here.

  4. Cliff sounds a lot like my father, only my father was FAR worse. He was a perfectionist beyond the realms of possibility.

    I suppose the key to a happy and successful marriage would be separate houses, and - of course- separate gardens.

  5. Patt and I mostly had different things we were organized/messy about. He did the gardening and whatever he did worked, so it was fine. :)I still use his tomato cages which are four metal grates wired together for each plant. They are great, but not pretty.

  6. Why are men always trying to "fix" things no one asked them to fix?!

    Just so you enjoy those wonderful fresh veggies, who cares who does it or how it is done.

  7. I leave all things "outside" to Hubby -- makes life so less complicated! In turn, and to my distress, he leaves all things inside to me. Darn it. Glad to hear your move went smoothly.


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