The CSA: Week 5

For six summers, we have blindly thrown our trust into nature’s ability to produce full-grown vegetable plants out of nothing but seeds and sprouts.

We have counted on having lettuce and peppers and zucchini and tomatoes. We have counted the radishes and bathed in carrots. We have rearranged our yard, moving rocks and laying railroad ties and creating gardens where there once was none.

Yet, every year, part of our trust is bashed. Thrown against the chain link fence. Stomped on by steel cleats. Dug out with a trowel and left to wither in the sun, to be chopped up in lawn mower, to decompose back into the earth.

And as decomposed plants turn into the minerals that ultimately help new growth, our trust is always renewed, with each new spring serving as a kind of Green Thumb Aphrodisiac, convincing us that, yes, once again, we can do this; pests and drought and blight and attention be damned!

I’m talking about our garden. And this year, it’s fighting for its life.

Not all of it, mind you. There are always parts of the garden that will succeed despite the pests that attack it. The radishes always sprout and are plentiful, the cucumbers will continue to grow, the tomatoes are planted in abundance to guarantee at least a small harvest. But others always seem to be foiled.

Ask our peas, which this year (in the middle of a strong sprouting) were picked over by birds. Or our beets, which last year suffered from a lack of water and this year suffer from a lack of, well, a top (the birds are to blame, again.) Some seeds have always been too deep. Others, regardless of the fence or whirligig flowers, are picked over by the neighborhood pests – the rabbits and birds that are only safe because we haven’t purchased a bb gun and (more importantly) because a child has moved in across the yard.

It sounds dire, but it’s typical. We are gung ho about the opening of garden season, but see our attention wane as the days become hotter, as we become accustomed to waiting, as we see the plants seemingly doing well on their own.

The tomatoes will flourish, as always. The cucumbers will grow, and we will be pickling long throughout the summer. We have a hint of lettuce. And, naturally, we have more radishes than we know what to do with.

I didn’t make it to the Farmer’s Market this Saturday – Kerrie and her mom and Sierra made the trip without me, as I stayed behind to get some housework done. I do know that, upon their return, the holes in our garden were filled. Our weekly single kohlrabi root, a plethora of radishes, beets of two colors and more onions showed up at our door. At this rate, we’ll hardly miss the kale (and the beets, and the carrots, and the peas) that failed from our own garden.

Which means, as last week, more tasty salads, more egg salad with fresh onion, more radishes as snacks. Our haul:
Green onions
Red onions
Yellow Beets

The replacement is okay. If anything, our garden will slowly transfer into a large tomato garden. Instead, we’ll just rely on someone else – someone more attentive, with nothing but our vegetables on our mind – to produce our crops.

In the meantime, we’ll just eat more radishes.

This was lovingly handwritten on June 29th, 2008