I took a cardboard box out to the recycling bin this morning with every intention of a quick return to the indoors. Fall is crisp and apple-y outside. The Big Apple is dangling in the breeze of fall’s ripening air; it’s chilly.
Then I saw these. Nearly doubled in size by the rain yesterday!
Lettuce is so easy to grow. I dropped a few seeds and voila! In Austin lettuce grew in spring and fall’s cooler air, since summer’s oppressive heat made just about everything except for Barton Springs pool dry and brown. Here in Brooklyn, lettuce seems to flourish in the cool mornings and gentle afternoon sun of this summer/fall transition.
Herbs are a no brainer; I didn’t even plant this mint myself. It appeared out of nowhere, yet I’ve enjoyed many mojitos and mint-infused treats all summer long. I even made a mint/basil infused blueberry jam yesterday, using green goods from my stoop garden!
Gardens are great because they exist on what ever scale you’re willing to maintain. While I know I surely could plant my stoop to produce a steady flow of grocery supplements, I don’t have the time or energy for that right now.
The act of farming, and its merits, can be reduced to the microcosm of your situation. Eating 10 beets (as opposed to 100) that I’ve grown myself is good enough for me right now. Small steps are better than none.
By simple mathematical deduction, the smaller your garden the more thankful you become over individual plants. I will savor that beet in the lower right hand corner, the one that’s just about ready for harvest, just as I might savor a larger bounty of beets (while also figuring out how to preserve them for the winter!) As the bounty increases so do the tasks (and rewards) surrounding maintenance and preservation.
In addition to a little water and compost, here’s the extent of maintenance and preservation for my present situation:
When your plants become part of the domain of neighborhood kids, it’s good to include an instruction note for them for when you’re not around. Kids and plants go well together; I love telling a crowd of disbelieving kids that we will in fact eat that thing that’s buried deep in the dirt next week. I love letting them feel the veiny leaves of my beets and peek under the furry tendrils of my squash plant.
Lettuce be thankful for the arresting beauty of simple (and tasty) things, for the seasons, for sunshine and moon-tides. Thankful for the bounty, regardless of size.