Are you planting a Quarantine Garden? Or, to use the more hopeful name, a Victory Garden.
A few weeks ago I packed up my face mask, hand sanitizer, and my best “don’t you dare come within six feet of me” glare, and went to a local garden center.
At that point, I hadn’t been out — at all — since before the quarantine started. Remember, I got strep the Monday before the quarantine started, so I was in bed all week when everyone else was having their last hurrah. Turns out, from March 9 when I went to Patient First for my positive strep test (last hurrah!) to May 1, when I went to buy plants, a lot had gone down.
For example, while I was in quarantine someone bought every plant in all of Richmond. There were no tomatoes, no jalapeños, no eggplant, no red peppers, no cucumber, no cabbage. And ABSOLUTELY no zucchini. Trust me, I checked three different stores.
After checking multiple stores over two weeks, I ended up with a golden zucchini (what is that?), tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. I finally found strawberries, so we can get moving on our goal of supplementing Tom’s berry habit.
Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that vegetable gardens are like sourdough bread and getting a puppy — now that we’re stuck at home all the time, everyone’s doing it
Personally, I think it’s awesome.
Perhaps there are first-time planters, or those who used to and are getting back at it. If their experience is anything like mine, this year will have a few successes, lots of failures, and lots of googling, “Why did my zucchini die overnight?”
This year we’re experimenting a lot, mostly with tucking our veggies into flower beds and growing a strawberry patch along the pool fence, where there’s full sun and unfortunately six inches of rocks and sand.
Strawberries with Coreopsis. Please grow, little berries.
For the past few months, I’ve been starting the morning by going out to the garden to pick kale to put in my breakfast eggs.
Last year I planted a “fall garden” in August, and that fall garden floundered and struggled all “fall” because in Richmond, it was 100 degrees in October. Then we had a remarkably mild winter, and instead of being killed off by frost and snow, my fall plants grew. Then, once spring came around, they unfurled in all their glory.
This little gardening serendipity couldn’t have come at a better time. Even though I know it sounds quaint, being able to feed my family from my garden right now gives me a satisfaction that I can’t quite articulate.
Don’t be misled — I don’t have much. I’m talked an occasional side dish or Swiss chard or arugula salad, and daily kale for my eggs. Soon we’ll have garlic and sugar snap peas, too.
I’ve seen a few articles about how now, more than ever, it’s important to grow your own food. We need to be more sustainable, less reliant on the food industry. I’ve seen those WWII posters advertising victory gardens resurfacing.
I don’t know if victory gardens are necessary now like they were during World War II, but I do know that my little garden gives me disproportionate happiness. One handful of kale in the morning is my Academy Award, Pulitzer Prize, Olympic Medal. (Ok, maybe that was too far, but you get the idea. Maybe it’s more accurate to say: One handful of kale = returning library books on time, folding and putting laundry away the same day you wash it, completing a 500-piece puzzle.)
For that reason, I’m glad so many people are spending time in quarantine digging and sowing. No matter what you plant, you’ll for sure harvest a bounty of satisfaction, and that’s something we can all use right now.
(OH WOW that last line was corny! But, I used to write newspaper feature stories for a living, how could I resist!?)