I have spent the past two days outside.
Long before I knew that Pandemic Gardens were going to be a thing, I planned to get serious about our vegetable garden. Last fall I laid down cardboard on a section of lawn next to our existing garden, basically tripling the size of our potential vegetable patch.
It was an act of extreme self-confidence, given last summer’s embarrassingly meager harvest of a bunch of peas, some cilantro, and obnoxious cherry tomatoes which self-seeded from the year before. Everything else either didn’t come up, or was eaten by a critter.
Last fall, I vowed this year would be better.
I laid out cardboard to kill the grass. My neighbor the dairy farmer brought me over a massive amount of cow manure, which gradually lost its pungency under the winter snow. And my other neighbor, unasked, showed up last week and rototilled the new patch of garden.
I started seeds in flats under fluorescent lights in the garage. The seeds that the mice didn’t eat are sprouting.
I also, in an unrelated effort, started apple trees from the seeds of my apple a day. I put them outside in late March, just before it snowed again. It looks like four or five of them are going to make it.
The landscape fabric I ordered online has not arrived. There’s no way I’m going into our local box stores to buy any, and it’s time to plant. My life, this summer, will apparently be about weeding.
Yesterday I drew a map of what I wanted to plant where. Then I went outside and planted seeds, following that map (mostly).
Next week, I’m getting tomato plants and peppers from a local farm. And then we wait.
I’m not a good vegetable gardener. I don’t pretend to be. But there are few things I’ve found more satisfying than seeing seeds sprout and grow. The only thing better is being able to go outside and find everything I need for the night’s meal right there in my own back yard.
That’s a satisfaction I’m looking forward to this year. If the critters permit.
Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.