Nov 17, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

We've begun planning next year's garden. With the wind keening outside rattling the windows and shaking the bare trees, we are in the throes of imagining planting. We are literally plotting the lush and verdant bounty that will feed us hopefully, not only through the coming summer but also through the winter of next year as well. We have framed out two gardens- one smaller home garden in our backyard and a huge expanse for our family's communal garden out at the farm. 4 tons of black gold tilled into to the ground courtesy of my land loving husband. Two simultaneous composts working their dirty magic awaiting to be folded into the soil with our bare and eager hands. We can almost smell this growing of things, this green and familiar scent.

The last few days have been an exercise in imagination, in thoughtful and deliberate conversation and research. The names alone are enough to spin my brain into a frenzy of delight. The ubiquitous Moon and Stars watermelon is on the list. Plum Purple and French Breakfast Radishes, Hearts of Gold melon and an old heirloom variety of corn called True Gold (oh my!). We are experimenting with German Butterball potatoes and the the blushingly demure Pink Viking varietal as well. Tendergreen Bush beans and more herbs than you could shake a stick at- Chives and Thyme, Hyssop, Spearmint and Borage, Basil and Chervil and Lovage. This list is only partial too with the requests of the extended family needing to be tossed into the mix as well. So it goes. So here we go.

This is going to be a very ambitious project considering the extent of my gardening acumen. I have planted some sort of garden in almost every place I have ever lived. Whether it be a container garden holding one stalwart and noble tomato plant in Los Angeles or a small patch of backyard in a shared community garden in San Francisco, I have always grown something. I always loved not only the idea of growing my own food but also the physical work it required of me in these small endeavors. The zen of gardening. Yes, there is such a thing. The dirt under my fingernails and the sweat on my brow as I bend to weed a too long neglected row. How my shoulders smell like the sun. But THIS, this is another animal all together and we are excited to see how it all unfolds.

With the changing of the light and the press of winter, we have a lovely reprieve upon us- we can take our time a bit in deciding what and how it is we are going to do this thing. The reverie is a beautiful one. A subtle yet enduring reminder that even at the start of winter, it's never too early to start dreaming about spring.

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