Saturday, June 27, 2009

Good Enough

Summertime beckons gardening. Over the years I've dedicated my energy to growing perennials, but this year two friends inspired me to try my hand at vegetables. One has several acres of vegetables and the other, a master gardener, has innumerable varieties of heirloom tomatoes, exotic vegetables, and herbs.

The first part of summer my mind was busy thinking about vegetables, while my body was actively planting and pruning flowers. Soon it was mid-June and I'd done nothing. A serendipitous castoff jump-started the project: driving through my neighborhood I noticed a handmade sign offering free yellow pear tomato plants. A few small pots perched hopefully by the side of the road; I snatched one up, never having seen or tasted yellow pear tomatoes before.

The universe had assisted by transforming thought into action! At the farmer's market that week a vendor had flats of colorful, mixed lettuces for a dollar apiece. Purchasing two packages I plopped them next to the tomatoes, still unplanted. A couple of days later, I noticed fresh basil for sale at a garden supply store - four plants made it home to the growing pile of waiting pots. My father sent a herb basket for a special occasion - soon tarragon and parsley were added to the fray.

A week went by and my easy luck was arrested. I fretted - what next? What to buy, where to plant? I had no plan and summer was marching on. Frustrated, I resorted to digging up two beautiful mounding evergreens from a narrow spot at the rear of the house. Shaking each tiny plant and herb free, I mindlessly dug holes in the ground and planted them. There - all in. Stepping back to view my work, I smiled. My vegetable garden amounted to a total of about two square feet!

I felt defeated. What sort of a garden was this? What could I cook with this mish-mash of items anyway? My mind shifted, remembering the yellow pear tomatoes: a gift, a gentle push to just start somewhere. Mine was clearly a work in progress: a messy, random, evolving vegetable garden. I sensed heaviness lifting from my shoulders, a new freedom to appreciate my tiny garden. Small and imperfect, it was good enough.


  1. You will have to keep us posted with how it turns out! It sounds lovely. We haven't had much luck with growing vegetables. Or anything for that matter. I am not very good at it. I tried some more perennials this year and we will see what happens next year! (I did have two plants that returned from last year - clematis and hollyhock - I was thrilled!)

  2. I am really glad that you took the plunge. Gardens are always works in progress! I still have things waiting to go in! Of course, after summer, there will be the fall garden -- a whole different palette of vegetables...

  3. Small and simple is beautiful! The seeds of change are wonderful. From small things come amazing outcomes.