Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gardening Failure #1

I am so glad that I am not living on a farming commune right now-- because my family would be starving. Our garden started off just fine. Irene came over and helped me till the soil while I was very very pregnant. There was already a raised bed in the garden. And so we planted peas, salad greens, spinach, strawberry plants, radishes and carrots. Everything was in the ground before Lily was born, and after that point, we didn't really have the time or energy to do any gardening because we were busy doing stuff like, oh, I don't know, birthing babies and the like.

The last couple of weeks we have been checking in on the garden, and, I am sad to report, the results are not good. I'll start with the bad news. The spinach and salad greens are dead. They came up, scraggly, but were flooded by weeks of torrential downpour, and sort of got muddy and smashed down to the ground. The radishes have been growing well, but due to the same rain, have exposed roots, which means that the radishes aren't really going to grow. We finally got around to staking up the peas, and they look like they are going to make it, but they're not "thriving." Good news is that the strawberries (which are perennials) seem to be doing great, especially after we mulched them last week. They have several flowers and you can see where the berries are starting to grow. Tomato plants that we put in two weeks ago also look good, although perhaps not as big and bushy as we hope they will eventually become. We also put in some cucumber seedlings, which look like they'll be just fine.

I admitted defeat with the salad greens and radishes this morning and pulled up what was there. I'm going to try to enrich the soil and try again (this time, planting salad greens only in the sunniest areas of the garden, and something hardier like beans in the back section). All I can say is that while gardening is a wonderfully fun hobby, it really hasn't been that cost efficient thus far, including the cost and effort of all of the startup. And I'm realizing that perhaps it's good that naive city folks like Ben and myself are not single-handedly responsible for caring for a farm.

I'm reminded of the (somewhat secret) story of the Catholic Worker farming communes. They started out of a utopian vision of community, and ended in disease, failure, and even death. I guess there's a reason that we have delegated farming to the people who actually know how to farm. But I'm not giving up entirely yet. I'm just thankful that this afternoon I can head to the grocery store and buy the vegetables that we're actually going to eat.

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