New Potager

I haven’t written in ages, for which I apologize and blame a brutal case of flu. I’ll have to give up my “germs build resistance to disease” philosophy and start getting a flu shot, no question.

When I finally crawled out of bed, this is what I found. Julien was so pleased. His childrens’ schoolteacher has a potager as part of her program. She finances it by growing a few dozen extra seedlings, selling them for enough to pay for her school potager. At least one dozen of them found their way to my house.

I guess Julien likes gardening. Little by little he has been taking over out there. His own tiny outdoor space is entirely paved and overrun with kids and dogs, while mine is big and scarcely used. Time to share the wealth, he figures, especially because he can get me to buy the tractor mower, the rototill, generally whatever equipment he needs. Buying a machine is nearly always cheaper than paying labor costs, so I have been okay with that.

The good news is, home-grown veggies are in my future. The bad news is, even if I just pay for the soil amendments, I’ll be paying about retail for those tomatoes. The other good news is, as he was making an uninvited forage through my seed packets — I have quite a stash and it is, after all, planting time, so it’s no surprise he figured I’d be okay with this activity — he found mizuna and tatsoi. In California those are good, all-American greens. Once I explained what they were, he said, “Oh, salade!” and into the ground they went.

So, okay, now I like the potager. I see no point in buying veggies I can get at the farmer’s market. But, now that we’re talking produce that I can’t buy, I’m in. In addition to the mizuna and tatsoi, we have two heirloom varieties of watermelon. We have sweet corn and popcorn; I hope they don’t pollinate each other. There is more, but I forget what.

During an earlier, nonstealth, foray into planting, we put in five fruit trees that look to have made it through the crazy winter. By about my 70th birthday, I might actually have fruit. This will make up for Julien pruning my elegant, low-hanging cherry trees into cherry drumsticks. He keeps saying I’ll thank him, and I do, all the time, but never for ceding my cherries to the birds like that.

Before — the cherry tree is actually the one in back. And after? I guess the birds will be happy.

Fortunately nothing on this tree is edible and it’s far from the veg. It will survive intact.

I think next year we’ll add tomatillos and cilantro.