Eatocracy's Managing Editor Kat Kinsman attempts to vegetable garden on a roof deck in Brooklyn, NY in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b. Feel free to taunt, advise or encourage her efforts as this series progresses.
There was a light coat of snow on my compost heap last week, but down in the basement, the purslane has sprouted.
Nope, that's not code for anything - I'm not signaling an all-clear for the Kremlin to come set up shop in my cellar. It was a hailing, flurrying 30°F in Brooklyn a few days ago, but under grow lights, a story beneath the frozen asphalt, spring has arrived. While the glasswort and sorghum have yet to sprout, I'm almost shamefully obsessed with monitoring the progress of the seedlings that have deigned to germinate in my basement since I tucked them into the soil just over a week ago.
I'm well aware that this is how nature has worked since the dawn of time, and that my intervention in the process is roughly as helpful as letting a 4-year-old "help pay" for dinner with the tooth fairy quarter in their pocket. I am, though, approximately that giddy over the whole affair. My hands put those seeds into that dirt and, as my Dad is fond of saying, God willing and the creek don't rise (though in my case, it's less a creek than marauding squirrels and the neighbor's free-peeing Siamese), there will be homegrown salad this summer.
These heirloom vegetables may just barely feed my friends and family. They surely won't stretch to serve my neighborhood or community this summer or even the next - but there will be seeds. I'll save them and trade them and give them away and in that small action, some obscure strain of fava or an unlovely but endlessly delicious corn variety gets another season in the sun, safe from extinction.
And for right now, I can't stop staring at the seedlings. I'll be typing at my desk, mid-conversation with a colleague or even trying to drift off to sleep and my thoughts creep on down to the peat pots and steel buckets beneath the humming fluorescent lights, wondering what's fluttered to life while I've been away.
It's, uh, not just me who does this, right? Keep me company in the comments below. I'll be sharing the triumphs and travails of my fellow dirt candy fanatics, so please share stores and links below.
Planted Sunday, March 27th
Planted Sunday, March 20th