Dueling Gardens

June 9, 2009

I’m afflicted with vegetable garden envy. Sure, we have many things growing and gracing the dinner table. Way too much lettuce in fact. But our urban bounty has come to harvest slowly because no part of the yard has day-long sun. And there’s one raised bed in which everything seems frozen in time despite the adjacent house wall radiating afternoon sun. (The soil testing kit — pH, nitrogen, potassium, and potash levels — arrived late today.)

Now comes my neighbor Tom, who only recently dug up a sizable hunk of his front yard, spent days amending the soil, and didn’t plant until we were eating strawberries and beets. But almost overnight, his full-sun plot is awash not in seedlings but robust plants.

What I wouldn’t do for some unshaded acreage in the country, a plot big enough to feed us vegetables year-round. I would relish marking time passing via days between turning the soil, planting seedlings, harvesting, and putting food away for the winter. Then starting over again.