This garden, my little garden, has caused me to be broke already and it isn’t even April yet. Lumber for raised beds, soil and soil amendments, plants, pots, seeds, a shovel, a rake, hand tools, hoses, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Honestly, I love it all.
It is not my first garden. My first garden was a little back yard affair, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and cucumbers. It was simple, and successful. To my surprise everything “worked.” I had eggplant that looked like they could have come from the grocery store, and, of course, so many zucchini!
My second garden was huge, tilled into a field of weeds. We put it in in April, my daughter was due mid-May and I had visions of spending the summer in a wide-brimmed hat while Bijou napped on a quilt nearby. By the end of that summer the weeds were six feet tall and I was in some post-pardum macrobiotic mania in the house deep frying mochi in olive oil. We moved before harvest. Garden heartbreak.
This year is different. I’m not winging it. I have good help. My sweetheart built me several raised bed frames. I have McGee and Stuckey’s Bountiful Container, Gayla Trail’s You Grow Girl and Grow Great Grub, and The Quarter Acre Farm by Spring Warren is on my night stand. The mail person should be here any minute with Novella Carpenter’s Farm City, Tart and Sweet: 101 Canning and Pickling Recipes for the Modern Kitchen by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler, and Gayla Trail’s newest book Easy Growing. And, yes, I am also broke because I buy too many books, but that’s ok. These books are both inspiration and instruction. I need them. I’m enrolled in the Master Food Preserver Class. I plan to learn a lot.
So, this is the beginning. My favorite ethnobotanist Frank Cook (everyone has a favorite ethnobotanist, right?) talked about plants not as things to be used and manipulated but as teachers, with wisdom that is revealed to those who pay, not with money, but with attention. Frank is no longer around but I’m grateful his teachings have been preserved, and passed on. I know he liked to say, “I am done with end-users.” An end-user is someone who uses, takes, consumes. It’s the last stop. I’m guilty of being a consumer of other people’s ideas, and images without sharing anything in return. I hope, though, to be more than an end-user. Both writing and gardening require a little letting go, wind catches seed, and voila, something new is born. So for me, and maybe for you, this can be a place where things grow.