I N · T H I S · I S S U E
Simple Pleasures (in the garden)
This summer, thanks to my friend Herb, I planted a garden. It is small, inefficient, and a delight! He gave me three tomato plants. They needed care. It’s been years since I gardened. How about you? So far, we’re “harvesting” basil and parsley, and there’s a pepper on the vine, a zucchini almost ready to be picked, those green tomatoes are going nuts, soon to ripen no doubt. Rewarding.
You might relate to such pleasures. It’s not about the food; it’s the proverbial process. Monotonous tasks like planting, watering and weeding – in limited doses – can be fulfilling. The rewards are fleeting; the weeds are back. Hey, that’s good soil topped with signature compost. Why wouldn’t weeds grow here? My high school chemistry teacher – Miss Murad – was always encouraged when mold grew on her bread. “That’s a good sign,” she would say. (Food expert and author extraordinaire, Michael Pollan, warns us not to eat anything that doesn’t rot!)
Many friends and family members have got pleasure from the little garden. It seems magnetic; they’re drawn to it. Several have called it “cute.” (The coyotes thought so too until I fenced my raised bed.) Some friends are equally impressed and detached. They see a worm and question it. They see growth; they smell basil I crush in my hands. One is now inspired to take his first steps with edible landscaping.
Imagine how those few eggplants will taste. Will we get cantaloupes? I remember one year my brother Billy and I grew them and got one. Yes one, and it was small and worth it!
“Hydrozoning” is a green landscaping term I learned this week: It’s all about planting in clusters depending on water requirements. By concentrating the high-water-use plants, other areas can be more sparsely watered. So far, my garden is one hydro-intensive zone, especially the world’s ugliest zucchini patch that I made by ripping apart two, old shipping pallets. All kinds of intensive, actually. My time – the soil was sub-parking lot grade -- the soil amendment – how many Home Depot cubic yards fit in a Civic trunk? All my compost, and the water.
This is one well-kept garden. Makes me wonder about its resource intensity, and whether it’s generating a net benefit. I’m keeping track of avoided basil purchases. So far we’ve saved about $7.00. I am fearful of full-cost accounting. Don’t ask how long it took to rip up the turf, amend the soil, and water. There is a net benefit, perhaps, or no doubt. But it certainly doesn’t factor in opportunity costs, and it certainly does factor in high values for liberal health and stress reduction. Do you garden and agree?
EcoMotion Staff Out and About
Our own Virginia Nicols is in Croatia, sporting the EcoMotion scarf and shirt.