Sunday, April 11, 2010
NOT A GARDENER BUT I KNOW WHERE THE FARMER'S MARKET IS
These are the sad remains of the potted plants that tried to live on my porch last summer.
There is a lot of talk these days about organic foods and sustainability and self-sufficiency. Mrs. Roy subscribes to Mother Earth News. Mrs. Roy knows about these things. And Mrs. Roy agrees that growing fruits and vegetables in the backyard is definitely cheaper than buying them - sort of. And it has to be healthy to eat all that stuff you grow instead of pop-tarts and instant potatoes. And Mrs. Roy just read "One Second After" which has kind of freaked me out and makes me want to go plant my entire yard in root vegetables. All that being said, Mrs. Roy still doesn't have a garden.
For one thing, Mrs. Roy is always a little skeptical of the calculations of yield vs cost that Mother talks about. Even figuring that these people are expert gardeners and their yield is bound to be bigger than mine, it still doesn't really add up. By the time you add in the costs of good dirt, fertilizer, seeds, insecticides, and tools (not to mention your time) home grown is not equal to cheap. And then you have the problem of crops coming in and not being able to consume it all before it goes bad - which means you have to sell it or give it away or preserve it, all of which would seem to negatively affect that yield calculation ratio.
The time thing is also a big factor. In the spring, when the temperatures are pretty moderate and there is a breeze, I'm all about digging up one of the few patches of sunshine in my yard (yet another deterrent to gardening) and setting up some "gardening by the foot" raised beds. Then I remember that I have to go to work every day and have things to do when I get home like cleaning and cooking and getting ready for the next work day, and somehow the garden doesn't get dug. Which is okay since by the end of June, we are usually in drought conditions around here and I would be having to water my garden by hand or have Mr. Roy helping me install an irrigation system if my imaginary garden had ever been planted. And then you have the squirrels and raccoons and birds and bugs who like to munch of whatever you plant and don't even think about snakes.
Like I said, I know all about gardening on an intellectual level and I like it, even with all the negatives factored in. The biggest problem with Mrs. Roy's gardening dreams is that Mrs. Roy has a brown thumb. I would love to grow my own vegetables. I envy a pretty raided bed. Making my own compost sounds like the right thing to do. However, pretty much everything I plant dies, probably because of any combination of the excuses listed above. So.....
Though I sometimes like to daydream of raised beds and home grown vegetables, practicality demands that Mrs. Roy be thankful for the farmer's market. Mrs. Roy passes by not one but two farmer's markets every day. They offer large varieties of locally grown produce at very reasonable prices. And I don't have to dig, sweat, preserve, pinch off bugs, irrigate, prune or anything else to get that produce. I just have to walk in, pay those nice folks and tip the guy who will actually carry it to the car for me. (I love living in the south!) Life is good.