Growing

Whale Patch, Pound Ridge, NY ::  © Jon-Marc Seimon, 2009

Whale Patch, Pound Ridge, NY ::  © Jon-Marc Seimon, 2009

I got laid off 5 weeks ago. It wasn’t a huge surprise, and I’m not going to talk about it here. It is what it is. The upshot is that I’ve suddenly had an ocean of time on my hands, and given the recent expansion of the garden, that’s not such a bad thing. 

I’ve never done much with my hands. Certainly, my entire professional life has been an exercise in abstraction. First, during the photography days, working with light – at least I worked in the darkroom then, so there was a tactile element, but given that it involved dredging my hands through chemicals for days on end, I can’t say I miss it. And then, of course, as an information architect on the web - I haven’t been able to actually touch any of my final products in years. They’re merely myriad configurations of magnetic charges in a multitude of servers in dark anonymous locations. I don’t know where my work lives, and this is the first time it’s even occurred to me to care. I’m not sure that I do. It’s all so disconnected.

I love making decisions in the garden. Should I take a chance and plant before the official last frost day (May 15 in these climes)? I did take the chance, which worked out okay - except that this year we got down within a couple of degrees of a frost 5 days AFTER the last day! So we had to go out and cover the tomato plants. And what the hell are we really supposed to do with the potato plants? Cover them with more soil - great. That’s what it says in the books, but cover what? Just the stalks? The leaves too?

The big challenge this season, so far at least, is the rain. It’s been a deluge - I think there have only been two rain free days in the whole of June so far, and it’s already the 19th. I’m learning just how important full sun is - the tomato plants are very small, and the sweet peas are delicious - but not sweet!

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A little shout out: My garden is a direct result of having read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a fantastic expose of the morally bankrupt industrial food system. What I love about it is that he points to realistic solutions, though. It’s about as inspiring a book as I’ve ever read, a life changer.