Planting Seeds

My backyard garden, April 24, 2012
My backyard garden, April 24, 2012

It seems like no matter how bad things get in the world at large, spring can always fill me with the sense that it’s all going to turn out alright. It is probably a delusional optimism (an irrational exuberance almost) considering the actual state of things. If you plant a garden though, sometimes you just can’t help feeling a little pollyanna. And even if my optimism does have a questionable basis in reality, maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe feeling optimistically is almost as good as the real thing, and perhaps just as healthy.

In the same spirit that I plant my garden, and at much the same time this spring, I am launching this small business. I have a vision of how the garden is going to look by July: the squash plants have taken over half of the yard; the flowers are in full bloom; bees, dragon flies, butterflies, and moths are darting about everywhere; maybe the first tomatoes will start coming in. There will be cucumbers, chard, kale, carrots, lettuce, cilantro, peppers, eggplant, and an out-of-control tomatillo or two. It’s been a similar miraculous theme year after year. It seems to always work out even though now, as I look upon freshly planted (or about to be freshly planted) vegetable beds, I feel apprehensive. There’s always the spring struggle with the slugs, birds, squirrels, the neighbors’ cats, and our chickens when they somehow manage to get through the chicken wire fence I’ve put around the beds to keep them out. Chickens are very beneficial for the backyard garden by the way. I highly recommend them but trust me, having them is a micro lesson in livestock management. They can be like having miniature bulldozers trashing around in your yard.

Yes, there is always that apprehension that the seeds I’ve planted won’t come up. Sometimes they really don’t, or the slugs take out the seedlings as soon as they pop their cotyledons out of the soil. (This year I hope to counter much of that by starting things in the green house.) Somehow every year, it all works out. I keep replanting after the slugs have had their fill. If some variety doesn’t seem to work, I try something else. It all works out. Usually the reality in my garden in August is a bit different, and sometimes better, than the vision I held for it in March. I plant seeds and send Nature on her way, but she ultimately decides the path. By August, she can only be contained with pruners and I can never keep up. Plant a seed, say a prayer (I lean toward atheism, but it can’t hurt), and she takes it from there. A little water, a little weeding, and the sun, wind, birds, flying and crawling insects, worms, the living soil and the millions of unseen organisms within it, all make possible the mysterious process that is the growing of plants. Every year, I am always amazed that an acorn squash can sprawl like a green suburbia (oxymoron there) across nearly a quarter of my backyard, all starting from a seed less than a centimeter in length. It’s like watching the Big Bang happen right there in my own yard.

So, thank you for visiting my site and reading this far. This is the “kickoff” blog entry for my website. Please do come back. I plan to at least post periodic updates about how the little green universe that is my garden unfolds this year along with news of projects on which I plan to be working. Will the eventual reality that unfolds match the vision I hold now for my small enterprise? I guess we’ll see how it all works out.