Earlier this spring, I made the decision not to purchase a vegetable CSA, and to take that money and invest it into a raised bed garden. I would grow my own produce. In the spring, when the first sedums start to push through the soil and the chives shoot up, it’s easy to make silly decisions. The yard becomes a tabula rasa and with each tiny seed pressed into the soil come visions of countless grilled vegetables, pestos, sauces and heavenly heartland salads.
This, friends, was the first major harvest. Beets, cabbage, green peppers, onions and shallots. It’s miraculous, really, that we got this much. The green beans and peas didn’t grow. The entire broccoli patch got devoured by our neighborhood groundhog. (Or groundhogs. Local lore and legend has it that a man up the street has trapped and driven away 16 of the rodents this summer, and that there may be a new “litter” on the way. I do not like writing the words “groundhog” and “litter” so closely together.) Aphids attacked the summer squash that was to be the centerpiece of our grilled platters of vegetables. And not a leaf of chard, kale or arugula was left pure by run-of-the-mill bugs. Finally, the squirrels and the hornworms make sure that we don’t get any tomatoes. But our beet crop seems to be thriving.
It’s clear that I am not a farmer. But it’s a learning experience. And the joy of pulling those root veggies from the ground, and picking a head of cabbage before the groundhog gets it (my first in three years of trials!) cannot be matched. So what will win out next spring, when it’s time to consider buying a CSA? Will I remember the groundhog? Probably not, I’m afraid. The turn of the seasons makes us into irrational creatures.