OK, we don't actually garden at the library, but we do direct people to all the many, many nifty gardening books in Dewey# 635. Vegetable gardening is all the rage now : it's good exercise for the whole family, it's the most "green" (ie: ecologically sound) of activities and fresh home-grown veggies are so much better tasting and pesticide-free than store-bought, or so we are told, and told... and ...told. What we aren't told is that it's basically easier to construct and launch your own personal space shuttle from your backyard as to bring one friggin' tomato to tomato adulthood. Faithful BHPL blog readers (all 5 of you) may recall the Six Bean Story from a year ago in which we meet a frustrated librarian/gardener whose obsessive tender-loving nurturing of seedlings on her windowsill over many anxious months (ok, the months weren't anxious, but the librarian/gardener was) resulted in a grand harvest of at least six beans, a few wilty lettuce leaves, weirdly skinny radishes and many happy neighborhood rabbits, slugs, aphids, deer and antelopes roaming through the garden.
So this year, not withstanding the stellar gardening role model that is Michelle Obama, First Lady Gardener in Chief, this gardener/librarian, (that would be moi, your friendly library blogger) just plunked some seeds in a raised bed I made from an old compost heap and didn't obsess at all, at least not as much as last spring. The seeds duly sprouted for the most part. However, no sooner did the beans sprout than something nibbled their tender little leaves. I'm convinced the critters sit in trees with little critter binoculars laughing and drinking little critter brewskis while watching the hapless librarian dig around in the dirt. Ha ha, they say in critterese, there she goes again and they call us dumb creatures! Another conspiracy I've cooked up is that only the worst seeds are sold to the home gardener market. Cunningly designed little packets with seductive illustrations of plump colorful veggies displayed on those spinning racks which make you so dizzy you end up just buying seeds because vertigo impairs your common sense. Then when the bad seeds fail to thrive, the home farmer buys lots of pesticides and fertilizers, and when that fails runs to the supermarket and buys those tasteless factory farm-grown veggies. So there you have it. Gardening 101.
Here's my considered advice re: gardening. To avoid the six bean heartbreak syndrome, check a gardening book out of the library, lie in your hammock with it tipped over your face to keep the afternoon sun out of your eyes and take a nap. Then, refreshed upon awakening, go to your friendly local farmstand to buy fruits and veggies that somebody who actually knew what they were doing grew just for you. And you can give those lurking opportunistic suburban critters the raspberry while you're at it. Not a real raspberry, they've already denuded my wild raspberry vines, give 'em the Bronx cheer.
Illus: Pencil sketch of Wiley Rabbit by Frustrated Gardener/Librarian, note, Rabbit is hiding his binoculars.