Friday, May 2, 2014

Inch Eight: This Year's Garden

We are two days into May and the weather continues to be gray and wet and cold. The Olentangy is running swift and high, what with all the recent rains.

The only garden around here right now is in the percussion room (a room others of you would describe as a family room) on the folding table set up before the sliding glass door. Table lamps provide the heat and despite the gray gloom, seedlings have sprouted.

This is my sixth summer in this house, my sixth year of gardening. And oh, what changes time brings!

In years past, I have had an odd assortment of gardens, my reach always exceeding my grasp. There have been pumpkins and broccoli, zucchini and peppers, and tomatoes always, everywhere.

An observation: There are only two of us living here. And one of us does not like tomatoes.

In years past, I have marked August and even September with canning and freezing and drying and processing the goods of the garden, filling the freezer with bags of this and that, filling the shelves with relishes and salsa and tomatoes.

In years past, there have been so many tomatoes that even with giving them away, I could not keep up with the flow and so lost a sizable portion every year to rot. Somehow I could not fathom, in the cold spring when I started the seedlings, that eighteen tomato plants were too many for a household of two, especially when one of us does not like tomatoes.

This year will be different.

Blame the cold weather, blame the harsh winter, blame my erratic energy levels, blame the Revlimid, but I started the seedlings late this year. I did not start eighteen, twenty, thirty tomato plants. I started (deep breath) six. Six. I started some peppers (a few). There will be a basil patch for the bees again, although I will probably raid it once or twice to make (and freeze) some pesto for a winter meal or two.

This year will be different.

I am not canning this year, an announcement which startled a friend into saying, "Not even tomatoes?" No, not even tomatoes. I want to spend the summer watching the bees in the basil, not standing over a steaming canner.

The PF bloggers out there—the Compacters, the frugal writers—often touch on the topic of living within one's means. While Warren and I do a solid job of living within and often below our means, it strikes me that I have never made the garden live within its means. I don't mean as a monetary proposition. Trust me, I am not growing $64 tomatoes. But to the extent that I plant far beyond the needs of our household and the needs of other households, to the extent that some of the garden goes to waste despite my best efforts, the garden lives far beyond its means. And to the extent that the garden can and will rob my energy, my time, and my ability to keep up, the garden is an extravagant old rake.

No more. I'm cutting it off, suspending its allowance, canceling the trust fund.

This year will be different.

1 comment:

see you there! said...

We never have too many tomatoes as they struggle with our foggy mornings. Zucchini tho? Even three plants is too many and I get really tired of string beans. I refuse to can anything these days but do freeze a but of the garden's bounty.