Lately I’ve been obsessed with planting a vegetable garden. I just like the idea of growing things. The truth is that I have never been very successful at growing my own vegetables on any scale that could be considered worth the investment in time and money involved. With the exception of tomatoes and basil, I have failed miserably at attempts to grow any other food worth eating. Eggplants wither and turn odd shades of green and brown, completely unlike the shiny purple beauties pictured on the seed packets. Same with bell peppers, which end up misshapen and underwhelming in size.
But for some reason tomatoes love our soil. We get so many that it becomes difficult to keep up. I mean, how many tomatoes can you eat? And each year there seems to be some volunteer plant that springs up in a planter. We always let them grow just to see what kind of fruit we get. One year we got beautiful big red tomatoes that were delicious. Another year, watery yellow flavorless golfball sized orbs that were inedible.
But this year I’m ready for a real garden. Last Fall we sold the redwood play set that our children had long outgrown and I used the space to construct two 4 x 8 raised beds. It didn’t occur to me at the time that filling 18″ raised beds with soil was not an inexpensive prospect. My wife likes to remind me that for the cost of the wood and dirt we could have bought our vegetables at Whole Foods for a couple of years. But what is the adventure in that? Anyone can buy food. It takes real effort to plant, grow, and ultimately kill it.
Undaunted by my lack of horticultural skill and knowledge I bought seed packets and sowed rows of vegetable deliciousness. In November. After a few weeks, little green sprouts poked through the dirt. Our green harvest was on the rise!
They never progressed past the point of little green buds. Months passed and there were no bushels of beets, leeks, ears of cord, carrots or green beans. Just little tips of green, afraid to venture further into the world.
I suppose I should have invested in a gardening book along with the redwood and soil.
But this year it will be different. I will not be denied my harvest! This weekend we hit the nursery and I doubled down. Beets, eggplant, basil, tomatoes, onions, leeks, green beens, peppers and more went into the earth on Sunday. And as a measure of insurance I bought a watering timer that will ensure our little green friends get a drink on a regular schedule. My wife thinks I’m nuts, which is actually highly likely.
Wish me luck urban gardeners, because I really have almost no idea what I’m doing…