“I don’t love gardening,” begins a refreshing article from the Washington Post by food columnist Tamar Haspel. “I know some people find it therapeutic, or at least relaxing. They enjoy kneeling in the dirt and coaxing plants out of it. I don’t. I’m in it for the food, and I expect my garden to deliver.”
That expectation is one I can relate to. My adventures in gardening have been halting and reluctant, and I’ve lost even the simplest, most foolproof crops—pots of cherry tomatoes with a perfect balance of sun and water in a Los Angeles backyard—to things like fungus and stink bugs. But a lot of stubborn non-gardeners might be feeling the urge to contribute to their personal food supply right now with things they’ve grown themselves, so Haspel has provided a list of foods that “someone with no experience can pull off.”
Berries, if you can keep hungry animals away from them, are well worth the effort, since a half pint at the grocery store costs $5 plus an IOU for your firstborn. Meanwhile, on the vegetable side of things, asparagus is a perennial vegetable that will reward you year in and year out with produce you never have to purchase. Garlic is pungent enough to ward off most pests. Herbs have an insanely high yield and have lost none of their flavor in transit. There are all sorts of reasons to get growing, and if my run-in with the stink bugs taught me anything, it’s that gardening can only be learned by trial and error. It’s like baking in that way, just more insect-ridden.
Whether you have any expertise in gardening might also be determined by whether you grew up with a backyard, or on a farm, or within a family that ate much of anything that came from the ground. Do you have a green thumb? And if you do, what wisdom do you have that you could impart to the rest of us?