Every year when I plant a garden I have grand hopes and dreams for all the sweet and juicy tomatoes, fragrant basil, earthy eggplant I envision will come from my labors. I see myself traipsing down to the perfectly tended raised beds with a sun hat on, lovely basket in hand, gathering my urban farm-fresh produce and making delicious, healthy meals a la Martha Stewart.
(cue the movie scratch-screech sound)
Reality is often somewhat different, isn’t it?
This year when preparing the beds for planting I forgot the sun hat and got sunburned. Two of my big gardening tools broke apart in my hands as I was working, the hoe and the pitchfork, making the mixing of soils extremely back-breaking work. Often those lovely tomatoes I anticipate shrivel, blacken and die on the vine before harvest due to blossom end rot. Bugs and raccoons destroy plants before they even set. It never quite goes as planned, does it?
But still, we gardeners persevere, don’t we? (Can I get an “amen sister”?)
Why do we do this? Because when it works, it’s glorious. There is nothing in this world like a just-picked, truly vine ripe, tomato.
Unlike last year, this year I decided to use all of my available garden space. This is what I planted; six tomato plants of varying size, age and type, one eggplant, regular and lemon cucumbers, lots of basil and other herbs, yellow and green zucchini, butternut squash, and seeds for broccolini and puntarelle (an Italian bitter green). The plants are mostly organic and cost about $75 total. That sounds like a lot, even to me (and I chose them!), but I’m hoping they yield a lot more than $75 would buy at the farmer’s market. If you’re curious, a few years back I tracked my results and a similar garden yielded 177 lbs of produce.
Garden 2014, early April planting.
What are you planting this year? What are you looking forward to the most?