Wednesday, September 24, 2008
How My (Small) Garden Grows
When I was a kid, I wasn't really into gardening. My mom, who had a pretty big vegetable plot, would occasionally enlist my help in weeding. "This," I thought, "is not fun." Not only was I out in the heat, pulling weeds, but I was pulling them from around bean plants -- the very plants that grew the green beans I'd be forced to eat later in the season. These were a special variety of green beans. I think their scientific name was "youcan'tleavethetableuntilyoueatthem greenis beanis." Or something like that.
Anyway, skip ahead a few years. Allie and I are living in Farmington and I decide it's time to give gardening another try. Not outside, since we didn't have any land. I was going to garden inside in pots.
Since my pots weren't big enough for, say, potatoes or onions, I settled on herbs, which I started from seeds. Allie wasn't too fond of the new hobby, since she doesn't really like dirt in the living space, whether it's contained in a pot or not, but she tried to be supportive. She also started calling me the urban gardener, which I thought was pretty good, since it was also a play on words. ("Herb-in" gardener.)
Things were going just fine until Allie, who has a super sensitivity (and huge aversion) to any food smell, opened the window one January to help clear the kitchen of the lingering scent of bacon. (In her defense, the old bacon smell is pretty gross.) Unfortunately, my little herb friends were on the windowsill and did not take to the Maine winter. They were gone before they knew what hit them.
Skip ahead a few more years. Here I am in North Carolina, taking advantage of the Tar Heel State's long growing season. I started out with rosemary, for a soup recipe my pal Rachel sent, but that never really took off, so now I'm working on some leafy basil and chives. I've got all kinds of things to do with chives, but I've got basil coming outta my ears and I'm stumped. I put it in salads, I've tried my own pesto -- I need some new ideas. Or some friends to share with. If you need some basil, let me know.
I'm already thinking about next year's "garden" and I'm not sure if it will include basil or not. Sure it's versatile. Sure it's easy to grow. Sure it looks cool on the porch. But Ben's taken to calling it "baahzil," inspired by some guy on local public television, and I'm not sure I can stand another year of that.