Friday, June 13, 2008


This summer I have devoted myself to a vegetable garden. It is less than 100 square feet, and I probably have my seven different vegetables crowded in there too tightly--tomatoes, two kinds of peppers, two kinds of squash, cucumbers (which are particularly reticent to take off), cataloupe, green beans, and lettuce. Nothing is ready to eat, but we're getting close. I wished I'd planted okra.

Watching things grow is a joy. Weeding and hoeing are not, and there is a particularly pernicious weed or ground cover plant that takes over quite quickly. And there is the fertilizing and watering, sometimes necessary although rainwater does so much better. Fortunately it's been damp this spring (but not like it has been in Iowa.)

Barbara Kingsolver, a writer I do not read, has written a book about how she and her family lived on what they grew or could get locally for a year. She lives in Abingdon, VA, somewhat north of here, but far enough south to get a good yield for a long summer. I wouldn't go that far (I'm assuming they didn't give up coffee?) but I do plan to double the size of the garden next year and have more varieties. In this time of rising energy prices, I commend the locally grown movement and feel I am doing my part.

As much, however, as it pains me to say this, I don't think 4.00 a gallon is the tragedy we've made it. No, I don't like paying that much for it, and I have significantly and purposefully cut back on my driving this summer although it will be a temporary solution. We were paying a lot less than everyone else (except Iran, I hear), and we have ridiculous, wasteful (I drive a Civic and an Accord, so I can be a tad self-righteous here) driving habits. I'm all for people scaling back their lifestyles; we are profligate. That being said, I don't see why we can't drill in Anwar and why we aren't getting any oil help from Iraq.

That detour relates to this post in that gardening should become a sign of patriotism and true environmentalism.

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