who would have thought that goody-two-shoes me would be living in fear over what the city will do next to harass us? i get sick to my stomach every time i see the code enforcement truck. even if it turns out to be hersch’s lawn spray. i want to cry when i see a police car- and not because i’m afraid someone got hurt.

today we spent a lot of the day out in the garden. we shmoozed with neighbors, answered bunches of questions, and in general acted like we were running for public office (minus the scandals and the lies!).

we have suddenly become the ambassadors for produce, it seems.  you might think that nobody had seen a live tomato plant before, but it was great and exciting, and wonderful to share info with our neighbors!

meanwhile, we have buds!!!!!!!! some of our seeds, which i was afraid wouldn’t sprout, have pushed through the dirt and become these adorable little mini-plants- i am feeling like a proud granny, and my husband must have shown 10 different people the little red dots on the top of our red pepper plants.  yeah, we’re turning into veggie nerds, but what can ya do?

this would probably be a good time to confess that i am not exactly known for my gardening prowess. when i was in high school, my grandma asked me to water her plants when she went on vacation. i did, and i followed her exact instructions -and all but one plant died. i literally annihilated like 3 dozen plants, without even trying.

the next year (because she is my grandma and she loves me) she asked me to do the plants again (yes, mostly new alive plants…). i took detailed notes (and i am an awesome note-taker. just ask anyone i went to college with!), i asked her insightful questions, like if she played music for her plants, or talked to them, or moved them around -or any tidbits of secret information that could help me keep her plants alive.  my grandma, bless her heart, was all casual- like, “no. i just water them. i use the watering can by the sink. i just get the dirt wet. that’s all.”

i know you can guess the end of this story: massive death and casualties. i couldn’t even go to the store and buy her new plants, because it was the wrong season.  i got the reputation in my family of having a black thumb. when i got married i told my husband not to even buy me flowers- i would just kill them. (yes, i know cut flowers are already dying. you are missing the point here…)

my kids have all survived so far, but i assume it’s because i never try to water them.

so making a garden was a pretty big step for me. last year i planted a bunch of seeds. like, every seed in every packet. in a smallish container. i absolutely did read the directions- i just assumed that so many would die, i’d better be safe and plant some spares.

i did get lots of buds, and even lots of small plants. and then i stood by helplessly as they all strangled each other because i was too much of a wuss to thin them out. i think i had about 150 pea plants, but not a single pea pod. i might have had an itty bitty strawberry or two, and i think the squirrels really enjoyed them.

to be fair, we did get some tomatoes. but they grew out of the compost i had put into bins, so i’m not sure if that really counts…

so this past year, i have done a lot of reading and researching (2 of my favorite pastimes). i read homesteading magazines and gardening books and blogs by people who feed their family of 17 on the food they grow in 6 containers on their front porch.  i looked through seed catalogs and spoke to gardeners and asked really basic questions at farmers markets. mysteriously, lots of people i ran into over the year just happened to now be master gardeners. like my boss from my first job when i was 14. and the son of my neighbor on the block where i grew up. and friends from my husband’s job (he works in publishing, not farming). and i kind of felt more and more like maybe i could really make this work.

so, here we are in june, 2011. i have 5 garden beds, lots of new friends who are willing to give me advice and handholding, and a court date with the city.

it’s gonna be a fun ride, and i’m glad you care enough to share it with me.

and hey- if you have any gardening advice, or dealing with the city advice, or general life wisdom, please please consider posting it here.  a big reason for this blog was to have a gathering place for help and resources for fighting the city over my right to garden- so i’d kind of prefer that my plants don’t all die while i’m waiting for my court date 🙂

keep hoping…keep hoping…