Over the past month, all things green have been shooting up and sprouting. It’s like Christmas in July out in my yard. Things we started from tiny seeds under LEDs in our basement are growing some fierce-looking cukes and a plethora of peppers. There is SUCH joy in seeing something you have tended grow. It is a simple pleasure, but it is real.
We have been eating homegrown greens all summer: cabbage, kale, lettuce (SO MUCH LETTUCE), snap peas, zucchini, green peppers, jalapenos, chilis, cucumbers. Not to mention that ridiculous crop of sage I planted when we first moved in. We are now growing close to a square foot of that herb alone.* Our tomatoes are still green but I suspect they are loving our super unseasonably warm summer.
One of my personal favorites are snap peas. And last year, we trellised one of our garden boxes to grow a big ole slew of them. They did well and I was in utter bliss to munch on “nature’s fast food” throughout the harvest time. This year, I thought I’d expand and do TWO trellised boxes of peas. And I learned something: each of our garden boxes has a slightly different sunlight exposure. Box 1 (which fostered last year’s pea harvest) produced tall, strong vines again this year. Box 2? Not so much. The vines are thin and paltry in comparison. At first, I was puzzled. But one morning, while watering, I realized that the first box gets direct morning light a full hour or two before the 2nd, due to the shade of an evergreen. Eureka! Box 1 produces fat, dark green pea pods full of super sweet round peas. Box 2 produces a smattering of wrinkled pea pods that mean the insides are not sweet or juicy. (Not that I’m gonna let them go to waste!)
All this hobby gardening has been fun, but I can’t imagine doing it as my only source of food. As I water and weed and harvest, I think about the women who planted Victory Gardens in the 1940s, and the Depression in the 20s and all the thousands of years agriculture was the only means for obtaining our daily bread. There would be so many what ifs. What if the soil is bad? What if bugs come? (Or squirrels!) What if it doesn’t rain enough? What if it rains too much? To garden is to invest and potentially lose it all. And when more is riding on it than just your pleasure, that is a scary thing.
And right now, in our country, in your city and mine (maybe even next door!) are people who are hungry. Literally hungry. And for whatever complex mix of circumstances, their crops aren’t producing, if you follow my metaphor. There are mouths to feed and no money, or no job, or no food nearby. What if that were you? What would you do?
And if you were staring at your plentiful harvest, while your neighbors had nothing…what would you do?
I know what I would feel pressed upon to do: share. Because maybe all the time I spent watering and planting and watching and waiting and weeding wasn’t solely for my benefit. And just maybe, my harvest is not for me alone.
*Anyone want some sage? Smells AMAZING. Seriously good on chicken. Also repels mosquitoes when dried and burned. Comment below!