Each year, along about now, I get the urge to dig in the dirt. To part the soil and toss in a few seeds and insert a couple of plants. But nowadays my condo deck doesn’t get enough sun for me to keep a basil plant alive. I’m not at the farm often enough to do any serious gardening, though I “plant a plot” in my fertile imagination every year just for old time sake. In recent years, I’ve become more of an encourager than an active participant in gardening. Like Blanche DuBois, I must depend on the “kindness” of others.
During an especially ambitious time in my life, I planted an acre of corn and harvested it before the deer and raccoons did. With a bumper crop on hand, family and neighbors joined in helping me shuck, cut, and freeze an entire pickup load of corn. When it was over, my kitchen looked like an explosion had occurred in a packing plant.
Today family and friends send me photos of their tilling escapades. Here are a few of the recent ones. I’m hopeful there will be more to follow. As you can see from the pictures, gardening involves getting “down and dirty.”
When I receive these garden activity reports, I’m excited by the prospect of an abundant harvest and a willingness to share. I often submit an annotated list to family and friends, noting the vegetables I prefer, including the varieties. For instance, I like a slicing tomato the size of your hand, one big enough to blanket a BLT and hang off the edges. I’ve tried to encourage my daughter to plant Pink Gourmet and Beefsteak, but her backyard seems to favor only cherry tomatoes.
I’ve put in requests for peppers, too—red and yellows—and zucchini and Japanese eggplant. I start off hopeful and particular. But in the end, I’m happy for whatever’s left on my doorstep by benevolent gardeners. In the interest of your family, friends, and neighbors—and yourself—get out there and start digging. Remember potatoes go in on St. Patrick’s Day, so you’re already a day behind.
Having “sown” a number of vegetable requests this year, surely I will hit “pay dirt” somewhere. If not, there’s always Soulard Market.