Saturday, August 23, 2008

Perfecting the Half-Assed Garden

I accept that I will never have a neat and tidy full-assed garden. It's simply not my style. The thought of getting things in the ground at just the right time in straight little rows makes me break out into hives.

Luckily, there's always more than one way to plant a seed. My backyard is bursting with the most gorgeous squash and tomatoes you'd ever hope to see.

Of course, I didn't plant any squash or tomatoes. Not on purpose, anyway. Last week I took down our tent to pack it up for a camping trip on Prince Edward Island--and behind it, in a narrow alley between the back wall and the pine trees, was a forest of green that had sprouted from a leftover pile of last year's compost. Since I've moved the tent it's blossomed further; squash tentacles adorned with huge, school-bus colored flowers have stretched out nearly five feet into the tent's old footprint.

Conversations with local farmers affirm my suspicions that this is actually a great way to garden: eat local, organic produce and toss the (seedy) scraps in the compost. Spread it out on a likely plot and just see what grows. The best-suited and most vigourous plants will claim the space. Next year, I'm just going to do more of the same and enjoy whatever decides to present itself.

We've been talking about our plans for the unexpected bounty. Between the squash, tomatoes, herbs, and garlic (all four varietals are producing beautifully), I think there will be some serious late summer soupmaking. Watch this space for recipes!

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