our vegetable patch


I am highly suggestible. If you tell me liking video games will up my cool factor, I will do my very best to talk myself into liking them before realizing I don’t. If I read that eating only raw food is the key to health and happiness, I’ll believe it until I try it. (Being 100 percent raw is MISERY.) If top buns are everywhere and a few gifted people both have the hair to pull them off and the face to make it look good, I will make attempt after sad attempt to comb and tease and twirl my wimpy hair into a pathetic donut on the top of my head. Then take it out because, no.

So when I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few years ago and told Brad it made me want to be a farmer, I knew my passion for agriculture was a passing one. Plus I have a historic apathy about nature.

But a little piece of that dream is still with me. Specifically, the “Vegetable, Miracle” part, because reading Novella Carpenter’s account of raising chickens, rabbits, and pigs in Oakland has finally convinced me I want no part in livestock-rearing. Ever.

Behold, our vegetable patch:

vegetable patch

Or rather, half of it. It’s taken me two weeks of dragging a hoe through the bone-dry dirt to get all the rocks, nails, rusted chicken wire fencing, gold doorknobs, and Christmas light bulbs out of the ground. Then I made a layer cake of dirt–dry California desert sand, garden soil, mealy compost. Our landlord is digging some sort of water pipe out of the patch soon, so the portion next to that is unplanted so far.

But on Sunday, I finally got some seeds in the ground.

Behold, my not-to-scale garden plan:

garden plan

Pole beans, spinach, bibb lettuce, romaine, tomatoes, kale, and cucumbers all went in the ground yesterday. I also planted snapdragons on one end to hopefully fulfill my dream of having cut flowers in the house almost always, a bougainvillea plant because that’s what you do here, and a handful of green onion plugs from the farmers’ market.

How is this going to end? WE SHALL SEE.




  1. Shanna

    Wow. You even drew a plan!? I am impressed.

  2. joannalinberg

    The plan definitely overcompensates for my laissez-faire planting method: Poke hole in ground, add a few seeds, brush dirt back over, done.

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