Last night, I dreamed I had a vegetable garden again this year. I did last year, when my husband and I lived with my parents on their 20 acres. Now that we’re on a more independent footing, our lifestyle is more like the life indie singer Feist describes in her song Mushaboom: “second floor living without a yard.”
Last year’s garden started early, indoors, in cups on the windowsill. Tiny seedlings poked through dirt like periscopes peering above the surface of the water. Then, the leaves began to spread out like hands and the hands reached toward the sun. I remember at one point, a cucumber or zucchini leaf plastered its tiny leaf “hand” to the window pane, like it was longing for the day it could enjoy the full sunlight it would get in the garden plot by the side of my parents’ barn.
Needless to say, I loved my plants. And sheepishly I admit what you can no doubt already tell from the paragraph above: I imagined they had human attributes, especially while they were in their infancy. As the plants grew, my garden became a tangle of wandering zucchini, cucumber and cantaloupe vines–chaotic, but productive. We ate a lot of zucchini bread.
I am sad that I’ve left my garden behind, but I’ve noticed that people in the city are still serious about gardening. I frequently walk past one tiny yard where a row of corn stalks grows alongside a chain-link fence. Other neighbors grow kale and Swiss chard that are as gorgeous as they are healthy.
I may not have a yard, but, taking a cue from my determined neighbors, I still have some ideas.
I will start some herbs from seeds. I’ll buy a big planter, or even a five gallon bucket, and plant basil, cilantro, and mint. We don’t use a lot of mint, but it’s known to keep squirrels away! Apparently, it’s even possible to grow tomatoes in small spaces, so we can enjoy fresh tomatoes straight from the back porch! And of course, anything I can’t grow myself, I can buy locally this summer, which is even more important to me now that my garden has taught me how much work farmers do!