Friday, February 11, 2011

Gardening, 2011

I was hesitant to garden again. My last one was nearly two years ago. It started out with sprouting a few seeds from grocery store produce. Then a few more. Then a sad seedling had to be saved at the farmer's market. And wouldn't it be nice to grow our own salads? Before I'd really thought it through, I had a couple of tomato plants, three kinds of peppers, strawberries, eggplant, zucchini, greens, some carrots and radishes, and several herbs, including mint, basil, oregano, stevia, rosemary, feverfew and chamomile. Even with my boyfriend filling in for me constantly, I didn't do much else that summer but garden, too often in the bright, hot sun.

I should have anticipated that gardening would be rough on my head. If you go back to that post I Iinked and try to find the follow-up I promised at the end there, you won't. I took a few pictures over the summer, but I never got around to writing about it because I was struggling damn hard not to hate every other second. When I wasn't tending to my 37 tomato seedlings or trying to keep the whiteflies off the zuccs, or fighting with the landlord over water-related disputes, I mostly slept. The sun, bending and crouching, manual labor, and stress all tend to be migraine triggers. That summer, they worked as a team.

So, last year I was not interested in gardening in the least. Besides keeping the plants I still had alive, I did nothing. I love the plants I have (probably a little more than is normal), but I just couldn't bring myself to start any seeds last year and even the seedlings in the farmer's market, which I would normally squee over, made me feel tired. I was burnt out.

However, I also remember it being prolific. We had so many tomatoes, we gave them to neighbors and ate them with every meal.

My front steps two summers ago, when the early girls were just starting to fruit.

From having a garden, I learned to love cooking with fresh herbs and veggies. I felt like a master of the universe pollinating my zucchini flowers. I created LIFE! And then I ate it! But, my favoritest thing about having a garden was sitting on the still hot porch just after the sun had gone down, looking over my bounty and lazily harvesting whatever looked good and immediately eating whatever looked best. That was my zen, for a while. So, as relieved as I was for the break from gardening, I missed it terribly.

Consequently, I'm giving it another go this year, but I'm going to keep it small, real small. I've got a few things started already, a long planter of garlic cloves (sprouting already!) and onion seeds, another filled with some special New Mexican chili pepper seeds, a pot with some oregano seeds, and a young thyme plant snagged at that big farmer's market last weekend. Nothing dramatic, and it's mostly blank soil still, but I've got the dirt under my nails and the sun on my skin again, and I can't wait to reap what I grow.

Mint, a survivor from two summers ago.

Thyme, the baby of our little plant family. Isn't she just adorable?


WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Good luck gardening, it is still snowy here. sigh.

I made raised bed gardens one year with inflatable kiddie pools. Raised a ton of veggies. I had an aunt who couldn't bend over who put her patio garden on a bench so she could tend it. Not sure if you could make a shelf or something out of a board and bricks or if you just don't have room.

steph said...

I've got my plants in my bedroom bay window right now, which makes everything nice and deceptively easy. As the weather gets warmer and the plants get bigger, they'll go outside and that's where the trouble starts. Our landlord is obsessive, so we're pretty limited as to what we can set up.

I love the kiddy pool idea! I wish we had the space!