When I was a kid we lived in a neighbourhood with lots of trees that grew out of a moist but solid soil. So it was a dark place in our front and back yard and anything you might want to grow, like a flower or a vegetable, didn’t stand a chance.
At our summer cottage the situation was similar, the ground was hard and you could barely get grass to grow. I remember trying to plant carrot seeds in the only area that got sun, which was also a path to the neighbour’s cottage, and the use of their well. On this well travelled path carrots never appeared.
For some strange reason I have always had a strong need to see something grow out of the ground as a result of my efforts. At a student house in university a friend and I managed to grow some cucumbers in a sunny patch of grass beside an alley. We called them pickles –– they were quite small –– but we were delighted.
Whenever I had the occasion, a sunny balcony, even a cold shady north facing one, a fire escape, communal stairs in co-op housing, a sliver of sunny grass viewed from a basement apartment, a neglected backyard just waiting to be tilled, I have been drawn to the soil. I am not saying I am much good at growing things, but there has been a definite determination over the years.
Now that I am living on actual arable rural land, I am overwhelmed at the possibilities. The soil is clay and rocky, but with a pic-axe I have persevered and slowly, against the will of stubborn bunnies eating the greens and chipmunks eating the berries, there has been some success. True, I may have bitten off more than I can chew in terms of the maintenance and upkeep, but I am sure at some point we (me and the garden), will hit our stride. In the meantime. I am chopping, eating, displaying or freezing my trophies!