Wendell Berry urges people to grow anything, even a tomato in a container, to better connect people to their food. The Onion, America’s Finest News Source, tells me that for 100s of dollars in materials and endless hours of back breaking labor, I can grow vegetables that can be purchased in the store for a lot less.
And there are the two poles of my life.
Traditionally, I have had greater respect for growers and farmers because I kill things. Well maybe some of it is the soil and weather and pests and bad luck, but starts and seeds shiver in fear when I eye them in the store/nursery. Besides my black thumb, I admire farmers, because as ripping out sod yesterday not only connected me with my inner Irishman, it also reminded me and not to get all Levine about [stuff], what work is. The average age of farmers in the US is 57, that is hard work at any age, my dozen year younger body is cursing me today. And say what you will about access to 'tractors' and 'equipment', it is physically hard labor.
Despite a history of failure in coaxing the smallest plum tomato from the soil, I completed putting in a small garden yesterday. Mostly herbs so I can have fresh flavors out of my backdoor. But there are tomatoes, beans, peas, and in the partial shade, wildflowers along with some corn, whose purchase may have been a folly or lark or the equivalent of burning $2.
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The soil was horrible and clayee. I harvested a lot of broken glass and tin and plastic turning the soil. I think a little vermicomposting, mulch, beans and attention will improve the soil, and I hope the next person who rents this apartment in the future continues gardening. I’ll take the worms and the knowledge with me to my next home.
I’ll keep you up to speed on how my garden grows but for now a before and after picture. Root for the basil and mint, there are spring rolls depending on them.