April 20, 2012
a garden of green
Last week, on one of my daily walks with Hiro, I spied one caterpillar, and then a second, crawling across the sidewalk. This reminded me that there were probably at least two caterpillars in our garden at home, and obviously they're on the loose everywhere else. But though I can see they've been making a meal of the mustard greens, and even more so the spinach, the trouble is always finding those little grubbers in the act. What I need is a chicken or two in the backyard to make a meal of them.
It's possible we'll be moving in the autumn, so this spring we've planted only one raised bed, and combined the soil from the other raised bed to create more depth. Half of the raised bed is herbs, and the other half leafy greens, along with newly sprouted green beans and cantaloupe. Everything else is in pots on the porch, including bell peppers, strawberries, figs, and tomatoes. We've also added four young trees we bought at a local discount store; two pear trees, one peach, and one Meyer lemon. The Meyer lemon tree already has fruit, and I can't wait to use that first ripe lemon to squeeze into a soup or to preserve as a seasoning for hummus. As for the empty raised bed, I might just use it as a compost pile; hemmed in by four wood sides it makes a neat container and would help make use of the leftover straw I used as mulch during the winter.
Every year the surrounding landscape becomes a lesson in transformation for me. As bleak or as grey as winter may look, after a few soaking rains and on Spring's cue, the leaves of the trees practically burst forth overnight. The plants that wintered in our garage, all bare branches in their quiet dormancy, come out of their shell and show their colors too. And with a little help, our garden does the same.
So in an election year, I think if you want to make a truly valuable political statement, you should start a garden. Not with a partisan agenda, but with the knowledge that a garden extends a hand to the future and lets you take part in a truly revolutionary process. With a garden of green, you really can change the land where you live.