Michele Samit, a screenwriter in Tarzana, is this week's Good Gardener. She won the award because of her tenacity under difficult conditions. Michele had grown two nice raised beds, filled to the brim with fertile organic compost and soil. She planted lettuce, bok choy, carrots, and various greens and cucumbers. She tended her plants carefully and fenced them off from her sweet little doggies, so that all creatures, plant and animal, could have their own fair share of the abundance in her back yard.
But Lo, the critters struck in the night, nibbling and nibbling -- a raccooon, a rabbit, a possum, a rat -- who could tell? Yet her morning inspection revealed devestation -- bok choy bitten to the bone, lettuce nibbled to the nub, cute little cucumber plants eviscerated by back yard hoodlum critters. She cried out to friends on Facebook, "I am a terrible gardener and all is lost. Why am I wasting my time trying to grow food for my family." Yes, momentarily, Michele gave in to despair, which can happen to the strongest soul. Yet we know we are not given more than we can bear, and Michele rallied her spirit. She reached out to friends and local experts. She would not give up.
She stood by her garden with a renewed firm-ness and she discovered the truth -- that frequent failure is almost a guarantee in horticulture, that disease, drought and disaster are the common clay of all farms, all gardens, big plots, small plots, and every bad thing that can happen will happen. Problems without solutions. Questions without answers. But Michele said, "I'm going to keep on keeping on." Because she would feed her family from the good earth of her own home. She re-planted, she re-fenced, and somehow the critters who had been raiding her radish patch got the message. They faded back into the ravine, they went elsewhere. And now, this day, her garden flourishes in natural abundance. She is a Good Gardener.