In our garden last year, we planted more herbs and vegetables than I have ever dared put in the ground in my life. We were even in an heirloom seed trial and planted heirloom seeds for three types of cukes and at least that many tomato varietals, multiple peppers and an array of herbs. In the start of May, I placed sweat, love, money and hope in the organic soil and compost and watered and fed the plants like they were my children. Yet, somehow in the midst of this devotion things began to go awry. We had an unusual summer in Michigan last year, with intense drought and heat followed by flooding rains. It seems this odd weather plus a strange contamination of the soil lead to various plant ailments that plagued our mini-crops all season long. Hundreds of years of heirloom seed saving came to a screeching halt in our back yard garden debacle. The entire experience killed my feelings for gardening. “Never again,” I said with all the fury of a bounty-less gardener. Who needs to grow veggies when we have a zillion perfectly good farmers markets within reach? Gardening is dead to me.
So over the weekend we set out to meet friends at our huge, farmers market downtown. The plan was to pick up some fruits and veggies, have lunch and a Bloody Mary. The perfect Saturday. As we approached the market, there was a mile and a half back up at our exit. Turns out, the largest Breast Cancer run in all of Michigan had just let out and all of the thousands of participants were headed to our outdoor market. It was pandemonium. The market was heaving with excitement which felt both smothering and contagious. The throngs of shoppers were out of their minds purchasing plants to be planted. We have had an unusually warm spring which makes people in Michigan want to spend every waking moment outside. As we made our way through the crowds of excited produce lovers and growers, I felt my resolve slipping.
The next thing I knew, I had a flat of vegetable plants and herbs in my hands and dirt on my shirt. I was totally sucked in. Visions of fresh vegetables right outside my door rose from the ashes of my bitter memory like a Phoenix. Hope springs eternal.
Because of our record breaking heat wave, yesterday became planting day. There was no way I was leaving my beloved new crop of plants in their plastic cells to die. We planted, ran out of soil, shopped (bought more Summer Shandy) and planted some more.
After what felt like an abusive amount of work….all of our plants were in their new homes and we were sitting on the patio admiring our work.
My back thinks it has been cracked in half from hauling 40 pound bags of soil all over the place but I have to admit……gazing at my handy work made me feel proud and hungry for all the joy that comes from successfully growing your own food. It’s a brand new Summer and I am willing to try again. Have you planted anything this year? I would love to hear your tips and tricks.
Have a delicious day.
Sad veggie image courtesy of USA.Stockfood.com