I have become somewhat pragmatic lately, so when Landscaper to the Stars asked what kind of garden I wanted to put in, I voted for vegetables. She proceeded to design us a garden that looks nothing like a vegetable garden: curved beds, circular paths, a funny little amoeba-shaped island. It would be quite at home at an English manor.
Thinking of how things usually grow around here, I planted as usual (read: overplanted), not imagining the plants would eventually grow over the borders, up the side of the house and down the hill. It is a good year for vegetables at Chez Trout.* Chris is bent out of shape because he can't mow the paths anymore. His lawnmower is apparently not in the mood for squash leaves. Squash leaves that are the size of bath mats.
We are a little sick of zucchini.
But this post is not about zucchini muffins, zucchini cookies and zucchini pizza. It is about corn.
Those of you who have been around for longer than, say, a day or two, know that we have some chickens. Chickens who let us pet them. Chickens who have silly names. Who live in coops that look like a tea house and the Hirshhorn. You may also remember that we don't know the first thing about raising chickens.
We also don't know the first thing about raising vegetables, which is why it's so funny to see corn growing next to our front door. There's something iconic about cornstalks. Twelve corn plants have somehow sent us over the edge into Hardcore Agrarian. Did you know that the ears of corn grow out of the SIDES of the stalk, not out of the top? I was all "yes, but where's the CORN?" and then I noticed some tufty bits on the side. Who knew?
We walk through the vegetable/flower garden (there's a zinnia poking up out of the tomatillos) to get into the house. I find this incredibly gratifying. It's like if you built shelves in your livingroom and moved your whole pantry there - housed in attractive containers, of course. I happen to find looking at an abundance of edibles soothing. And decorative.
However, even with the unexpected bounty, I can't imagine how people live off this stuff. In the middle of winter I have visions of how I'll feed the family the vegetables we've grown and we'll spend something like $4 a month on things like flour and sugar. So far, we've eaten lettuce, snap peas and zucchini. Oh, and about 14 leaves of spinach before it bolted.
I guess what I'm saying is, it's all really groovy and fun and gratifying, but it's also kind of useless and if there's any way we can collectively put off Armageddon so I don't have to eat slugs, I'd be grateful.
*except for the eggplants, which are still on the phone to INS, asking to be deported.