While my wife and I have been keeping a modest 30 X 20 plot the past six years, or so, growing a small variety of vegetables, we’ve regularly added new elements, and variety to our spring planting. In 2007, Mary added an herb garden, and also planted tomatoes on our hill, which I had discontinued mowing, and had let go wild. The sandy soil, and abundant sun on the northeastern side of our property, helped them do quite well.
Given the price of food this year, we’ve decided to double the garden plot, adding additional greens, like mesclun, some extra kale (which we fell in love with, last year}, a hearty root vegetable, like beets, as well as two varieties of beans, squash, zucchini, and another salad mix.
[Miss Mary's own personal herb garden]
While having a small garden requires some initial work, preparing the soil, and the actual sowing process, the effort is well worth the yield, and mid-summer bounty that will be forthcoming. Noted writer, economic and cultural critic, and first and foremost, a farmer, Wendell Berry wrote about this in his essay, “The Pleasures of Eating” (from What Are People For?), urging readers to get involved in their own food production. Berry advocated participating “in food production to the extent that you can. If you have a yard or even just a porch box or a pot in a sunny window, grow something to eat in it. Make a little compost of your kitchen scraps and use it for fertilizer, Only by growing some food for yourself can you become acquainted with the beautiful energy cycle that revolves from soil to seed to flower to fruit to food to offal to decay, and around again. You will he fully responsible for any food that you grow for yourself, and you will know all about it. You will appreciate it fully, having known it all its life.”
There is something magic that happens when you get your fingers in the soil, and get some of the earth under your nails. A closer connection to the natural world keeps us human, and that is always a good thing.