Being that we live the country life and all, it’s only natural that we should have a garden, and by “we,” I mean my wife and my father-in-law, since any attempt my me to grow something from the earth is doomed to hideous, depressing failure. My wife and FIL do not have these problems; they plant something in the ground and it grows, joyfully, sprouting and blooming and growing until the two of them come along to yank the literal produce right from them. Talk about alienation from one’s work. If plants had political affiliations, they’d all be Marxists.
The garden is pretty large — larger, in fact, than our entire front yard back when we lived in Virginia, and large enough that there’s no way each year that we can possibly eat all the produce that grows in it — we end up canning enough tomatoes to power Chef Boy-ar-dee for a year and foisting Ball jars of preserves on friends, family and random passersby. Come along to the house in September or October and when you get back home all your neighbors will think you stopped off at a farmer’s market. That’s a hint.
In this year’s garden we have potatoes, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, lettuce, squash, cucumbers, radishes, and several other plants that I am assured are edible at some point. In terms of long term investments, we have asparagus, growing in that box in the front of the picture, and blackberrys, whose trailing vines are supported by wires hung from those crosses (so, no, we’re not crucifying our produce). Neither the asparagus nor the blackberry plants will produce anything appreciable in the first year, so by planting these things, we’ve signaled our intention to stick around, I suppose (our 30-year-mortgage also suggests such, just not as verdantly).
Our house is situated on former farmland, and we’re surrounded by farms as well, so not entirely surprisingly, the garden grows like gangbusters. Even someone with a black thumb like myself can understand why New England farmers crawled over each other to abandon their rockstrewn plots of land and head west to the Ohio territory as soon as it opened up: There’s rich soil, hardly any rocks, and humid but largely temperate weather. If you can’t grow something in Ohio, it’s likely you can’t grow it at all (except maybe bananas and palm trees), or, like me, everything green thing you touch dies screaming.
I don’t mind. I’m not the gardening type anyway. I’ll just enjoy some of the couple thousand tomatoes we’ll undoubtedly have by the end of the summer. My contribution to the gardening process is consumption. And that, I do well.