The extent of my gardening experience was to buy a couple of pots of tomatoes from Lowes, stick them out on the back porch, and hope I didn't forget to water them.
I loved the book from the very first page. It's a memoir, of sorts, about the year Kingsolver and her family tried to only eat the food they grew themselves (or could purchase from farmers within one hundred miles). There are recipes. Gardening tips. Disturbing facts about the food industry in America. And a hilarious chapter about Barbara crawling around on her knees trying to watch her turkeys mate with each other (apparently, turkeys have been bred NOT to mate and have kinda forgotten how.)
Around the same time I read this book, my family moved from Lexington, Kentucky to Columbus, Ohio, and our new backyard had space for a large garden. I'm not gonna lie, I seriously thought about buying a few turkeys too, but decided to dial back a little on my plans.
Inspired by Barbara, the first order of business was to plant asparagus. See, it takes like, 6 or 7 years to get a good established crop, but it is so worth it to one day be able to stride out into your garden and snap those lovely stalks out of the ground.
I WANTED those asparagus stalks.
You have to plant the rootballs in March, in a trench 18 inches deep, six inches apart. I ordered 24 rootballs. That year, our first winter in Ohio, was stunningly wet and gray and cold. I wheedled my husband into helping me dig the trench. We felt like 18th century Russian peasants out in the mud with our post digger, clomping in the muck, the icy rain misting our faces. The kids were watching us from the warm dry safety of the house, laughing.
"Mom," my son said, shaking his head, and with a look on his face that showed that he clearly thought his father and I were nuts. "You realize that those asparagus won't be ready to pick until I'm away at college?"
I wish I could tell you now, seven years later, that we had a glorious harvest of asparagus.
Something something about soil composition.
Oh well. My son's away at college and I am still gardening. It's a hobby, I guess. Even though I never thought about it this way until I started thinking about what my hobbies are.
I'm not a gardening expert by any stretch of the imagination.
Every year I plan. I plant seeds. I weed. It's a ton of work. But there's something meditative about it. I spend a lot of my time parked inside my house staring at a glowing laptop screen, thinking. Heading out in the garden to attack a weed patch, NOT thinking, is a welcome relief.
I know I am not the first person to see a resemblance between gardening and writing. The planning. The mistakes. The work. The incredible amount of TIME!!
But I do so love the rewards when I just keep digging around in the dirt.
|Spring--just planted. |
Lots of lettuce and the beginnings of tomatoes, peppers,
eggplant, cucumbers, kale, and green beans
|This overgrown mess is what happens when you've been out-of-town and haven't weeded in weeks|
|Whew! Took care of that.|
|And looking forward to this year's harvest|