You have been waiting all winter for this – admit it. You have been thumbing through seed catalogues and feverishly imagining your sunny, raised garden bed, fecund and lush and o’er-spilling with cukes, and beans, and sun-warmed tomatoes. Thinking about all those tender, fresh, aromatic herbs that no one else can coax as greenly as you. Picturing the extra little flourish and the modest bow you will take when you humbly present your salad greens (with brio) at the Fourth of July picnic. Visualizing the ribbons you will take home from the Fair. Envisioning how you will please, delight, and amaze your family when you whip out a fresh, homegrown shallot for the salad dressing. Or when you pop open a jar of homemade pickles at Thanksgiving. Considering how you can take revenge on the idiot neighbor who mows his lawn on Sunday mornings – zucchini is the perfect passive/aggressive pay back. All the glory goes to you.
So get hopping!
will not plant, water, NOR weed themselves. “Plant a carrot, get a carrot.” Get in a little elbow grease action – which is much more nurturing and healthy than hot yoga. Heavens to Betsy.
I have learned over the years with my sandy back yard, and my short attention span, that I am easily tired and discouraged. I now keep my exposure to a minimum. I am happiest (and most successful) with a little container garden. I have fresh herbs, and a catnip plant to keep the ancient bony cat entertained. I do a couple of tomato plants every year, but this year I bought some trendy heirloom, organic tomato seeds. Let’s see if they do better than my usual cheating, pre-fab seedlings from the hardware store. Although anything is better than those soul-less, soggy, cardboard globes I get at the supermarket.
It is time for my annual bean experiment. I imagine myself living in someplace ancient and beautiful like Sissinghurst Castle, where the gardener’s assistants take care of the weeds, and I am left with my follies and the trés amusement
garden structures I fashion from bamboo poles and woven willow strips. I will train the beans this year in a big terra cotta pot, with three bamboo poles perched like a teepee above the seedlings. Maybe they will do better than last year’s. Maybe if I remember to water every day they will have a shot at making it to the table.
I had a successful little run with lettuce last year. We had some awfully fresh salads for a couple of weeks. I doubt if it was very cost effective to wrangle my own little Bibb-aroos, but it felt so good to wander outside with the kitchen shears, and judiciously snip a leaf here, another leaf there, and know the salad was good and fresh, and I was leaving modest carbon foot print.
They are saying that all those Amazon deliveries, however convenient and fast, are proving problematic – they are increasing traffic and road wear as those UPS trucks come streaming our way with our cheap books and Kindles. So I have to do my bit and think of the environment when I plant my tiny little vegetable garden.
If you do not feel not up to the responsibilities of growing your own vegetable garden this season, now that the snow has melted, and the snow drops are popping up every where, please think about supporting your local farmers at farmers’ markets and farm stands and CSAs. We were cool long before Brooklyn and all its mustachioed, plaid-sporting, artisan, organic, heirloom, microcosmically hip farmers, tanners, butchers, chicken farmers, bakers and baristas. We like homemade and all the virtues associated with it.
It is oh, so very pleasant to wander outside in your jimjams on a summer morning, pausing to watch the sun rise, while munching meditatively on a dewy green bean that you have just twisted off a vine, before you ever have a cup of coffee or read the newspaper. Instagram cannot replicate that real delight. Honest.
“From December to March,
there are for many of us three gardens:
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind’s eye.”
– Katharine S. White