At the farmer’s market a week or so ago, I started quizzing the grower I was picking up some tomato seedlings from. Truly, it must be too early to put the seedlings out in the garden in the crap New England spring we were having? “Yes, for you,” he said. “But we’ve already started our suicide plantings in the fields.” STOP. WAIT. What did he say? Another shopper and I stared at each other in amazement, our ears perked, and we turned back in rapt attention. It seems that this early planting, this suicide planting, lets the farm get a jump start on production. They know they’ll lose some, but whatever makes it will just have them that much more ahead. I think I started giggling. My whole garden is a suicide mission.
We grow a lot. We eat from our garden fresh, frozen, preserved, canned, jammed, you name it throughout the year. That said. I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. The garden is fueled by enthusiasm, adrenalin, and perhaps some white wine. I’ve never colored within the lines and the garden is no exception. Neat rows are meaningless to me. I think proper spacing is a scam. I have a hard time discriminating against the weeds. Killing bugs is more of a power trip than I can handle. I like to mix things up. I plant similar things together, but don’t bother sorting out the seeds and labeling. I like the surprise.
My husband, who grew up on a small farm, spends much of the growing months shaking his head and weeding behind my back. But lately, I’ve been coming to the conclusion that –wonder of wonders– that I have just always been ahead of the times. Preparing for this this season’s garden, I seem to be finding seed packets of mixed summer squashes. As my husband mocked me during last season’s harvest, I hotly informed him that my tater tot sized potatoes and pygmy carrots were highly prized gourmet delicacies soon to be sought out by the best chefs everywhere. Have you seen the Johnny Seeds Catalog? There seem to be an awful lot of miniature varieties of everything in there. Uh-huh. Told you so.
Finally the weather has warmed to something resembling summer around here. My garden is in. I’m watching it grow from my studio window. And I wish it were as easy to plan my next rug as it is the garden.