This week I've been wondering how I've suddenly found so much extra time in my day.  I've been writing and blogging a lot more recently, and I even had time to go to a Toastmasters meeting today.  (More about that this weekend when I have more time to write.)  And of course I've suddenly found more time to be on Facebook as well.  I realized today that I have so much extra time because I've been neglecting my garden.

This is only the second year I've planted a garden, and I enjoy it immensely.  There is nothing better than walking out to the back yard to decide what I'm going to have for dinner.  Last night it was "mock crab cakes" with zucchini, tonight it was tomatoes with thai basil, and fresh broccoli and beans to spice up our canned Indian curry.

I live in a 100 year old house, with an appropriately sized postage stamp for a yard.  Half of my garden surrounds the perimeter of our back patio, and I have 2 other beds about 2'x5'.  Not a lot of room, especially when I'm trying to grow space hogs like zucchini and broccoli.  Because of this, I spend a lot of time in the garden pruning.  Things like breaking off broccoli leaves so they don't shade my chili peppers, or cutting back the lemon balm that has started to grow like a weed take a lot of time.

I've also had a lot of problems this year with pests and disease.  The zucchini are slowly succumbing to powdery mildew, my tomato blossoms are all shriveling up and dying, and the *#$%@*&^ leaf miners are destroying everything from swiss chard to parsley.  Not to mention everything is now coated with a layer of black aphids.  I've finally thrown up the white flag and surrendered to the bugs.  I'll salvage what I can with minimal effort, and let them eat the rest.  It's the easiest way to create time in my day for my new projects.

Although I've given up on my garden for the year, I am passionate about community gardens.  Someday when time permits I would love to start one at our elementary school.  I once heard a parent complain that we shouldn't waste time teaching kids about gardens, but I strongly disagree.  The more removed we become from our source of food, the more problems we have with obesity and the related health care costs.  Not to mention the harmful effects to the planet, from factory farms to trucking our food halfway across the country (or worse yet the world).  When our kids can identify a french fry and ketchup but not a potato or a tomato we have a problem.

Which reminds me of a funny story.  I was in my neighbors garden the other night, talking to my son about the different kinds of vegetable plants.  I pointed to a cucumber plant, and I knew what was going to come out of his mouth before he said it.  "What's that?" I asked.  "A pickle plant," he responded enthusiastically.  We may have some more work to do, but at least he knows that we can grow his french fries and ketchup in the backyard.  That's a start.

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