Sleeping on the sea

It’s been a productive morning of tinkering with my buckets and pots and bricks. I’m supposed to be writing my garden/outdoor spaces chapter; this is just a bit of field research, or so I’m telling myself at least.

This morning I planted a lettuce mix and chiogga beets, both from seeds in this Heritage mix from Seed Savers Exchange. I bought six 5-gallon buckets from my local hardware store, drilled a bunch of holes in the bottoms, dropped some pond rocks in the bottoms (for assisted drainage), filled with good potting soil and voila! Serious container gardening to ensue. My six eight buckets are all full now; I’ve planted:

  • raspberries
  • Dragon carrots (see seed mix link above)
  • Dragon’s tongue beans (“)
  • tomatoes (two buckets, two varieties)
  • green bell peppers
  • chiogga beets
  • double-yield cucumbers

I also took over the little 3’ x 3’ half-concrete, half-dirt-like debris patch just outside my stoop. I moved a few native plant containers and my most invasive stoop garden plant, mint, for a trial run in the wide world of Hancock Street. One of these days I’ll build a little wood frame to go around it, but for now, I hope my guerrilla garden stays put and makes at least one person smile as they make their way to the subway.

As I migrated the strawberries (below) into a ‘jar’—the tall pot with multiple spouts along the sides—in hopes of higher berry yield, I remembered a poem I wrote the other day and thought I might share it here. I’ve never done anything of the like; I like to share poems with people by writing them on pieces of paper and mailing or handing them over (not via interweb blasts). I think you all might like it, though. Might at least identify with the haphazard, relentless nature of container gardening. I liked it so much that I submitted it for a Master Class workshop at Poets House next month (please send Robert-Hass-acceptance vibes.)

Container Gardener

I chart sun patterns, now.


Slants of light and certain shifts,

shadows cast, at what time.


Moving buckets of sun-thirsty growth

inches north, then a bit to south,

an albatross,


I spend my life shifting things around,

sleeping on the sea.


[please do not reproduce poem without my express permission]