Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Playing in the dirt

You know those tiny self-help books that are sold at the check out at places like Barnes & Noble?  The ones that have little pearls of wisdom on each page to help you live a more fruitful or peaceful or thankful life?  

Well, I was looking through one the other day and laughing hysterically with some colleagues (because, really? This is life advice?  Really?).  One of the suggestions for leading a fuller life was: "Help a child plant a small garden."  Just for comparison's sake, other suggestions were "Order an L.L. Bean catalogue" and "Read a book on bees" and "Never poop in public bathrooms."  Incredibly enlightening.

That said, I took some of this advice.  I strive for a full life, after all.  Tad and I are preparing a space in our little yard for my second annual attempt at growing my own food.  I say Tad and I because gardening "single" is SO much easier than doing it "plural".  The bending and weeding factor, the digging and pulling and stamina factor.  Anyway, now that the rainy season is subsiding, I can't wait to get this little patch of dirt ready for the Tilth edible plant sale this weekend.

I get so excited about what to plant and what I will eventually eat (and share!) from my garden. This year, there will be cherry tomatoes!  Last year I did a couple of different varieties of tomatoes that yielded approximately two and a half ripe tomatoes and a good half dozen that never ripened and rotted green.  I don't do fried green tomatoes.  BUT, my friend Tyler would bring over cherry tomatoes by the bucket-full for us to eat last year, he couldn't possibly eat all the yield.  I can learn from my mistakes.

What else?  My bell peppers were another failed experiment last year.  To be replaced with lemon cucumbers this season, I believe.  And radishes.  Mmmmm.  The one thing that did succeed last year was the lettuces I planted.  They loved their home and grew big and strong and we picked fresh salad once a week or so.  The bad thing was that I chose spicy mustard greens that were seriously so spicy that I couldn't eat them.  So this year, another lesson learned, I'm sticking to romaine and spinach.

So in my garden, I will grow a salad.  Hopefully it will be a low-maintenance kind of garden that the weeds and bugs don't like and I'll be able to take care of it even as I'm more and more round and firm and "ripe" myself.  And I will have the satisfaction of watching good things grow.  And as it grows, maybe I'll read a book on bees.

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