Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Would Like To Ask Mary, Mary How Her Garden Really Does Grow And If It Involves Cute Shoes And Something Fabulous To Sip.

I am not a natural gardener.  I love the concept, however.  The thought of harvesting things from your own back yard and incorporating them into a meal sounds so earthy and fabulous.  I also love the look of a full garden - kind of romantic, but useful too.  Because this lifestyle has such appeal, we put in some raised beds on the side of our house a couple years ago.  I love them.  Here they are:

I wanted them to look kind of Frenchy, so the aged wood and the little finials on the corners are a nice touch.  I also love the trellis we have in the center of each one - they have some out of control clematis growing on them.  For style points, we're good.  Regarding the actual growing part...we had a bit of a bumpy start.

The bed that holds the herbs is looking great.  This has nothing to do with me or my green thumb and everything to do with the fact that a lot of herbs come back on their own (who knew?).  So thanks to the resiliency of sage, thyme and oregano, we at least have the look of abundance.  I even scattered a handful of our very own herbs over some chicken I roasted last night for dinner.  I felt very Ina Garten.

However, it's this desire to channel my inner Ina that got me into a bit of trouble a couple years ago when I first attempted to grow some things from seed.  We planned to plant radish, carrots and various lettuces in our beds.  Nothing too exotic and all things we would eat normally.  I was ready to live the backyard farmer dream.  Of course, part of that dream involved looking like a bohemian harvest goddess while I farmed.    When it came time to put the seeds in the ground I planned happened to have on an outfit that was appropriately flowy - Prana pants, a peasant top, and a pashmina to fight the early spring chill.  You know what I'm talking about.  I was ready to plant.

So (like any serious farmer) I poured myself a glass of chardonnay, slipped my scarf over my shoulders, grabbed my seed packets and headed to the side of the house to get started.  I noticed two things right away that ended up causing me a bit of trouble later.  It was a tad windy out and many vegetable seeds are very, very small.  It's hard to plant seeds when your scarf is slipping off your shoulders and your wine is nearly tipping off the edge of the garden bed.  I ditched both after a while, but because it was so windy, some a lot of the seeds blew out of my hands when I was attempting to put them into the little holes in the dirt.  I thought nothing of it at the time and forged ahead, eagerly anticipating our first harvest.

Fast forward several weeks and turns out some of the 10,000 seeds that blew away had sprouted.  Everywhere.  We had lettuce, radishes and carrots growing all over the side of our house.  They were no longer limited to the wonderful raised beds we'd made.  We were growing them in rocks, in the cracks between flagstone pavers, by our neighbor's deck, even in the front yard.  It was a running joke that you could find lettuce almost anywhere around our house.  I think our neighbors made three salads with just what popped up by their patio alone.

The next year we were careful in our planting, but got lazy late in the season and let our arugula go to seed.  The wind blew it all over the place and the same thing happened.  We are starting to get a reputation.

This year, I'm planting in shorts and a t-shirt, when it's not at all windy, and I'm saving the wine for later.  We will harvest regularly.  Live and learn.

I'm wearing this today:

Bravely dipping a toe into the pattern on pattern trend.

gratitude:  driving with Eliza, texts from JD at lacrosse camp, a late night walk with Geoff, the color green

thanks and love.

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