I’m surrounded by people who grow their own vegetables. While I’d rather my children didn’t think their vegetables grew in the grocery store, I can’t even grow a simple sunflower without it wilting a slow and sad death. I love the idea of growing my own food, just as I like the idea of writing a novel, both of which need to be a priority in a life which has other priorities.
My friend Erin has the most amazing food garden on her Quamichan Lake acreage. She grows everything from raspberries to potatoes and a whole bunch of yummy fruits and vegetables in between. She cans, freezes and prepares everything she grows; there is little waste. In my house, we throw away out-of-date yogurt, moldy bread, freezer-burned meats. Not always, but enough to make me think we can do better. I intend to learn from Erin’s great food practices — to reap something of what she sows. And to hopefully show my children that food waste isn’t cool.
The Easter Bunny (my mother) gave us an upside-down tomato planter, so for my first growing project I am going to plant tomatoes. From what I’ve been told it’s a fail-safe vegetable/fruit, but then that’s what the Garden Store lady said about the sunflower…
Erin recommended I choose “determinate starters” (vs. those wild and crazy indeterminates). These are new terms to me, though they rolled off Erin’s tongue as easily as if she’d been talking about the weather. I feel a bit phony saying them out loud.
Which is why last weekend I approached one of the plant growers at the Downtown Duncan Farmers’ Market to ask, “My husband asked me to pick up determinate tomato starters?” For my husband? So weak.
The stall I approached didn’t have any starters yet. It’s the Universe’s way of testing my resolve as a tomato grower: if I’m worried about looking silly asking for the starters, then I’m not cut out for the bigger challenge of growing the bloody things. Universe: 1; Me: 0.
This Saturday, I will return to the Farmers’ Market and ask properly, pride carefully tucked into my back pocket.