Saturday, December 01, 2007


The first seed catalogue has already arrived: Totally Tomatoes' 2008 listings are already tempting me to order a few peppers and maybe one or two tomato varieties. We really don't have room to grow good tomatoes; we're low on space, and the garden area we might devote to veggies doesn't receive enough sun. It's not hard, though, to imagine building a few trellises (there's more sun the higher the plants climb, and at least one of the indeterminate tomatoes is reported to grow several feet tall) (it's actually billed as a "tree tomato") or hanging a few more hooks for the mini "tumbler" varieties. . . I always get this way after the first couple of hard freezes: it's like not being able to take a good deep breath--give me GREEN!--but fortunately, I don't (usually) give in to the catalogs' zazzy colorful pics and hyped-up descriptions ("produces in all kinds of weather conditions!") ("delicious TRUE TOMATO flavor!"). Just once, I'd like to see an entry that said yeah, these pretty much taste like wet cardboard, but they're a nice shade of pearlescent pink, and your neighbors will oooh and ahhh over the five measley fruits that finally ripen in mid-September.

In homage to the other garden--those early lettuces and greens that never fail to grow like they're supposed to (am I the only one who dreams of pizza smothered with arugula?), here's a poem from Jody Gladding's out-of-print chapbook, Artichoke, one of the truly beautiful chaps put out by Chapiteu Press:


Thinnings from young lettuces
So bitter, to make up for their tenderness.

Don’t say green like apples, and the stems
aren’t hollow as quills.

All summer the deer wait for the night
to grow dark, for the morning fog to grow
thick in their leaves.

Tatsoi and mizuna
Spoon and fork.

Ornamental kale
Nothing is ornamental.

Crushed lightly. What it’s like
lying down with a man.

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