Although I now consider myself a urban gal and not necessarily a green thumb, my agrarian roots continue to tug on me. Last summer, I gave in to the gardening urge and our front porch erupted in a jungle of herbs and tomatoes– tasty grape ones and some marginal Early Girls– they worked for gazpacho, but not much else.
I don’t think there are gardening genes per se, but if they did exist, I’d have them, even if they didn’t come accompanied by any particular skill. My mother’s sister still lives on the land in Virginia that my grandfather farmed for decades and raises most of her own vegetables in a large garden plot. The other side of my family has a strong streak of cattle farming.
Eating locally and raising one’s own food has become popular again, in part for environmental reasons, for health reasons, and, in some cases, it’s even economically more practical. I can’t fairly trace my own urges to grand principles such as saving the planet or avoiding pesticides, though those are nice perks. Honestly, it’s just satisfying deep down to watch plants grow and feel that tangible goal– the sweetness of a tomato as it bursts in my mouth or the added zest that my herbs added to a dish I just cooked.
Now that it’s Memorial Day weekend, I’m starting round 2 of my urban gardening experiments– the grape tomatoes are back along with Ramapos– the Jersey tomato. Now, if I can just manage to wait until July to see how it all turns out. . . .