Friday, May 11, 2007

Let the [Gardening] Games Begin

So, I hit adulthood at last. In other words, I'm finally ready to start a garden. I honestly haven't lived anywhere that explicitly permits gardening. I do currently live in a house that's been converted into four apartments, and I somehow manage to have a composter. It's of the plastic variety, and it mingles quite inconspicuously with the trashcans. Since I'm moving in three weeks (to a place that won't require me to compost my organic waste in stealth), I cleaned out the composter a few weekends ago. Now an amazing vine-ish type thing is proliferating in the black circle of rich soil.

In an attempt to make real gardening that easy, I've looked into a book called Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work. The author, Mel Bartholomew, talks about the woes of trying to lead a community garden. He talks about the cycle that the average person goes through: 1) super-enthusiastic, over-zealous new gardener with all the new tools 2) increasingly busy parent/student/wife/daughter 3) shopper who gets fresh fruits and vegetables from the produce aisle at the local grocery store.

To combat this natural cycle of life, he developed an ultra-convenient yet ultimately satisfying gardening method. Since I've really only read about it on the "See Inside" pages offered by Amazon as an enticement, I'll refrain from going into too much depth. It involves gardening in square-foot plots in order to be more strategic about how many seeds get planted at once (to avoid thinning, which is apparently very tedious) and to avoid an over-abundance of one particular type of harvest. He also advocates planting in cycles, so that the harvest supplies a steady supply for the dinner table.

Ah, the dinner table. And thus emerges my ultimate reason for gardening. Can you imagine plucking your own organic vegetables from the ground and then eating them in a lasagna or on a pizza an hour later? Sheer bliss.

I suppose I shouldn't count my vegetables before they sprout. I'm the girl who "cooks" for herself by opening a box and heating a cardboard tray in the oven for 50 minutes. At least it's an Amy's organic meal. And I'm cooking it in an oven rather than a microwave.

Leave me alone.

That's just what I do for lunch. For dinner, Matt and I primarily cycle through our favorite restaurants: Madras Pavillion for Indian, the Hobbit for hippy food, Black Walnut for cheesy, oozing things, Star Pizza for cheese that is tempered with a healthy dose of vegetables. After all, Houston is the fattest city in the U.S. (down with Detroit!). But we've been cooking at home more. Black bean and yam quesadillas with curry powder, fried tofu with garam masala and peas, tomato/mozzarella/basil on ciabatta sandwiches. I like it. I feel physically and environmentally more healthy.

After two weeks of cooking at home consistently, I think I'm ready to take up gardening.

Did I just say that?

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