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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

So Much Promise, So LIttle Produce

What's not to like about growing your own food on your very own land?  Going to the garden center and picking out the very best soil and organic plants and seeds to have exactly the things you want  whenever you want them.  Standing with the garden hose and zoning out to the sensation of spraying water. To watch each seed grow and each plant change from day to day, first a little sprout then a stem, a leaf, a flower, a zucchini.  "You've planted too much and you won't know what to do with it all" friends warned and so I braced myself for pick-up truck loads.

So Much Promise

 Local.  Sustainable.  "Farm" to table.  I am one with my garden.  Well actually not so much.  I tried, I really did.  "Good morning zucchini, how are you doing snap peas, love you tomatoes, blah, blah, blah."  Instead of being one with my garden it's more like I'm one with the DWP - now that my water bill has gone up double digit percent and they've upgraded my account to platinum.  I was in way over my head, not realizing that not only a lot of water, but a lot of care, cleaning, trimming, weeding, pruning, and feeding among other things went into this little old fashioned grow your own experience. Garden creatures apparently like collard greens and snap peas as much as I do so it's been a race to get them first - Losing!  That abundance of zucchini has amounted to a sum total of 1, one, uno, aka the Lone Zucchini.  Seven, count 'em, 7 snap peas.  A few tops but not a carrot to be found.  Lots of tomato leaves, and only 2 measly albeit teeny green fruit.  A lonely bell pepper the size of a malted milk ball, something that looks like an exploded yellow cauliflower, and not a cilantro stem in sight.
The Lone Zucchini
So Little Produce

I will not abandon the "crops" now, but this will be my first and last vegetable garden.  It's too much work, water, and worry.  That one zucchini cost about $136.  Now I know this much is true - store bought vegetables are a bargain.  I truly appreciate how much is involved in turning a seed into a snap pea, and have renewed respect for farmers big and small, from near and far.  Let the farmers do what they do best, which is make things grow in ways I apparently can't.  Let the markets, both farmers and super, do what they do best which is make it all available every single day, at extremely reasonable prices, so that I can do some of my best things - shopping, cooking, and eating.  Oh, and maybe I'll  keep the the cute hat too.


  1. Hi Nancy,

    It hasn't been very sunny lately, and it might be the wrong season for planting some of the items. Your zucchini and tomatoes might wake up and start to produce in August. The zucchini you did get looks beautiful, by the way.

    But it's true, gardening takes time, energy and water, and also experience. Certain plants don't work in some areas. We grew quite a few different vegetables but critters always got to the leafy things before we did, and our weather turned out to be too hot for carrots; those plants are simply not right for our garden. The snap peas worked only in late fall or very early spring. At least you don't have gophers like we do!

    Some time you might like to try just a few plants so they won't demand too much effort, and see what your neighbors manage to grow. And you're absolutely right--produce in many stores is a bargain.

  2. Just doing my share to help the economy! Faye, thanks for all your tips and insight. Not giving up on the garden yet but it will be the last one. And that zucchini was delicious.

  3. Oh well. Sounds like you deserve an A for effort. I never was one for gardening either.

  4. What I mean is it might be best to think small. No need to do a full garden. Thyme and rosemary plants are virtually indestructible once they're established, and then you have them whenever you want. One or two tomato or zucchini plants is fun too. I am saying this but this year I haven't planted anything but that's what I hope to do.