Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Spring Garden

“For a while every season, I do try to keep the whole thing under some semblance of control, pulling the weeds, clipping back the squash so that the chard might breathe, untangling the bean vines before they choke their frailer neighbors. But by the end of August I usually give it up, let the garden go its own way while I simply try to keep up with the abundance of the late-summer harvest. By this point what’s going on in the garden is no longer my doing, even if it was I who got the whole thing rolling back in May. As much as I love the firm grasp and cerebral order of spring, there’s a ripe, almost sensual pleasure in its August abandonment, too.”
Excerpt from The Botany of Desire, by Michael Pollan
I love this passage for many reasons, but mainly because it amazingly describes my garden. It’s nice to know that my garden isn’t alone in its spring order and autumn chaos. We finally had the opportunity to work on our garden this spring. My wonderful husband tilled, while I worked ahead to pull some of the bigger weeds and then behind to even out the soil. I love working with the freshly tilled soil. Our land is mostly (if not all) clay, so every time we decide to add a section of garden, plant or tree, we basically have to mix our own soil: sand, top soil, peat, compost, etc. I also appreciate my husband’s willingness and sense of urgency in getting it done in time to have a productive garden. Of course, he also loves to quote the book of Genesis ("cursed is the ground for thy sake") while he recovers from the hard work involved.

Since the garden was ready and the weather cooperative, I made a trek to a local farmer’s market to purchase seedlings and I spent the afternoon planting. I look forward to tending to our garden, watching it grow, and (at least partially) living off the summer and fall harvests: cherry tomato snack bowls (we have 3 varieties), fresh salsa, green beans, cucumbers, peppers (4 varieties)… I’m also anticipating the annual challenge of finding something new to do with the ever abundant zucchini and squash. I look forward to sharing any recipes I find with those of you who are facing the same challenge.

For now I’ll admire the order and simplicity of our garden while I can for this, like all things, will soon pass.

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