Published in the Rains County Leader on June 20, 2017:
To say that I decided not to plant a garden this year wouldn’t really be accurate. What really happened was that I procrastinated. Taking it one day at a time, I told myself that I would begin the tilling, the preparation, and the planting tomorrow or next weekend. I told myself there was still plenty of time until now it’s almost time to begin thinking about a Fall garden. The amazing thing is, after all that dawdling, I’ve discovered that I don’t need a garden after all.
Because Winter ended early, the phenomenon began early this year. You know what I’m talking about. Spring produce appears everywhere – at the Senior Center, at Church, on your doorstep. All the people who didn’t procrastinate have more than they can use, so they spread it around.
The first thing to appear at the Center was mustard greens, one of David’s favorites. By the time we arrived that day, all that was left was a few yellowed leaves and some clods of dirt. However, the gardener who still had an over-abundance in his garden asked if we wanted some, and he brought us a large sack full the next day. The next week at Bible study, one of the ladies brought red romaine to share. We had never eaten it before, but it was very crisp and quite tasty.
Not long after that, the same Senior gardener brought in cabbage. I guess it wasn’t as popular as the greens, because we ended up with three heads – two that I picked up and one that someone decided they didn’t really want. Thanks to the fact that cabbage keeps well and that there are a number of different ways to serve it, we managed to eat it all before it ruined.
Since then, we’ve had potatoes, green beans, onions, garlic, and peppers. I’ve used most of what we’ve brought home, but I have some peppers in the veggie drawer that are a little questionable. There have also been cucumbers – lots of cucumbers – our Senior gardener brought them in the back of his pickup. Thankfully, cucumbers and onions marinated in vinegar is also one of David’s favorite, so none of those have gone to waste.
Now we’re into squash and tomato season. We’ve had tomatoes with at least one meal a day for several days, and there are still eight beauties in the window sill. As for the squash, so far we’ve had a zucchini, yellow squash, and tomato medley; baked squash; and a dish with zucchini and corn. Since squash is one of the few things David gets tired of, I think I see some zucchini bread in our future.
I still feel a bit guilty when I see that my garden plot has been taken over by weeds, but I’ve made my peace with it. I’m still a bit of a city girl, but I’ve learned a lot in the six years since we moved to Emory. One of the things I’ve learned is that I really don’t need a garden, because living here is like living in the middle of a huge produce stand. Almost everyone I know has a garden, and they love to share.