My first seed catalog for 2017 arrived in the mail on the same day my winter CSA delivery came this week.
Opening the Community Shared Agriculture box was like unwrapping a gift. Inside were spinach, potatoes, lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, apples, and carrots.
As I washed the crisp purple and greens leaves of the lettuce and admired the sleek, fresh skins of the cucumbers and zucchini, the convenience of having the healthy food dropped off at my doorstep each week became apparent and appreciated. I didn’t have to pull any weeds, worry about temperatures or rain, pluck bugs or get my hands smudgy. I just opened my door.
I scrubbed the potatoes underneath a weak stream of water. Dirt washed away revealing a thin skin on the spuds that didn’t need peeling. I gave the carrots a bath, too, discovering a fresh orange color. I scraped the peel off, and a brighter orange was revealed. The carrots were thick and ugly, not at all shaped like typical bunches outlined in a children’s coloring book. But they tasted sweet and easily could be cut into edible discs.
I washed the apples and spinach leaves and put away the red and yellow cherry tomatoes. Several salad combinations came to mind.
Then I sliced the potatoes, adding onions and pats of butter to the dish, and set the oven to bake them for an hour. Soon, the smell of comfort food filled the house, and I sat down to browse through the pictures of vegetables and flowers in my newly-arrived catalog while the potatoes baked.
The magazine enticed me. Images of healthy peas lined up in fresh pods, red tomatoes sliced in half, slick and round deep-purple eggplant in bunches and smooth yellow wax beans displayed in a sieve filtered through my fingers as I turned each page.
I wanted to grow almost every fruit and vegetable that passed by my eyes.
Then I viewed the flowers. Visions of Pansies, Petunias, Snap Dragons and Gaillardia captured my attention. I browsed through several pages of sunflowers.
Words describing the flowers as “glorious,” “fragrant” and “easy to grow” jumped off the pages.
“Easy to grow” is what I wanted to find. Descriptions of “disease resistant” vegetables also coaxed me to look unsuccessfully for “bug resistant.” I started to circle pleasant descriptions with a neon blue highlighter and dreamed of an “Easy Peasy” and “Perfecto” kind of summer garden this year.
Soon, my potatoes were done. I put down the catalog and fixed myself a small serving. The baked potatoes tasted so good.
I started thinking about the potatoes the Green Thumbs grew in our garden last summer. I picked bugs off our potato plants week after week leading up to a disappointing harvest. The potatoes were small and scarce. We could have bought a much better product at the local farm stand, although what we harvested did taste good. The experience, which fell short of expectations, made me hesitant to plant potatoes again, although the blue and purple potatoes I saw in the catalog raised my curiosity.
I went back to circling descriptions such as “unstoppable productivity” and “produce in abundance.” Could a bean described as “easy to grow with no serious pests or diseases” be for real? I highlighted the description with two neon blue circles.
My wish is for a lazy summer and a garden planted with simple-to-grow vegetables and a nice patch of low-maintenance flowers. Anything difficult to raise, I prefer to buy at the local farm stand — or have delivered to my door.
But the idea of taking it easy is only a wish no matter what food the Green Thumbs choose to grow. Gardening requires dedication, persistence, and hard work.
I’ve never met a successful lazy gardener.