I’m a little obsessed with agriculture lately. I know. Weird, right? I checked, and no, I do not have a fever. But that doesn’t mean that I am not a little sick in the head. Or maybe it’s thick in the head? Depends on the moment.
This year we were able to have our first little garden at home. We equipped ourselves with as much knowledge as our schedules allowed by taking gardening classes with our local Cornell Cooperative Extension.
It was great. It was also overwhelming. Master Gardeners are crazy awesome people who know EVERYTHING. They are a great resource for newbie, wannabe green peeps. But they do make you realize just how unprepared and removed you are from the whole food to table business.
I knew this year we would really be losers and just get our feet wet with the whole gardening thing. B made two small raised bed and we planted some seeds and some plants and let it go. Let me just say, there is no better way to learn than by doing. As expected we were losers. We started late, didn’t make a plant map or schedule (as I so desired) and have had some issues with crowding. The damn seeds are so small when you put them in, that really, how could they all take and grow into huge plants? But nature proved to me that impossible things are happening everyday (anyone? Rogers and Hammerstein, Cinderella. anyone?).
So I pretty much lost my first crop of radishes due to this issue, which created a fungus, and caused the little radishes to not have enough room to bulb out. My phrase, not an approved official radish phrase. Just wanted to clarify. Lucky for us however that we had enough time this season to replant some seeds and start again. Live and learn.
What I did not expect was that everything would grow. And grow. And then grow some more. I was fully prepared for puny, little, half dead things to sprout and die as though all their ambition was reached once they go to the surface. See Lindsey Lohan.
Instead I got the hanging gardens of Babylon.
This garden is crazy. Green, lush, tall and sprawling. We are in desperate need of more room. I am simultaneously proud and nervous. It must be a fluke. I am not expecting this to happen again. I must have just gotten magic beans or tomatoes or something. But, hey, I’ll take it!
Next up on the Boondock learning agenda is canning. Because, what the F am I going to do with all this bounty? And this again is where newbie farmer L failed. I never read up on canning, preserving, drying etc. I also never read up on how to tell when things were at their peak for picking. That has made for a very cautious summer. Sometimes I pick a bean and think, will this kill me? Is there some folk wisdom about fresh food “what not to do’s” that city girl L missed? Damn my urbanite parents and their grocery store ways! If it’s not on the store shelf how do I know if it’s ready? I jest. But not really.
Honestly, this has been the most challenging part. So I second guess myself and have ended up picking too early or picking too late this whole season. Occasionally, I am right on the money. And those are tasty times!
So wish me luck as we close in on the end of the season. I will be cutting and hanging herbs and canning tomatoes with B’s grandma soon. Let’s hope I make it!