Yesterday as I was preparing supper, omelettes with these assorted ingredients from the garden:
(spinach, teeny tiny green onions, sage, parsley, thyme)
…I realized my garden is just like the EZ Bake lightbulb oven I used to have as a child.
With the oven, you open a miniscule package of cake mix (included), mix it up in the teeny tiny bowl and pour it out into the teeny tiny pan provided. Then, you slide it in to bake by the heat of a 100-watt oven. After half an hour of mixing, baking, etc., you end up with a “cake” the size of a pancake, which you can then ice with the teeny-tiny spatula (included).
I remember baking a “cake” like this one evening when my grandparents came over and I was so delighted about presenting it to them, and at the end of the meal, everybody got a piece about a millimetre wide. I was SO proud!
As a grownup raising my own children, my thoughts on this oven have always been, “why???”
Think about however much the lightbulb oven kit costs… versus 99 cents for a packet of no-name cake mix (flavour of your choice!) and maybe another 99 cents for a tinfoil pan to bake it in. (Mama donates, eggs, oil, water and spray oil for free).
AND at the end of it all, you get a REAL cake that you baked yourself that everybody can share.
Anyway, how does this remind me of my garden?
Well, those teeny-tiny onions got me thinking (I was thinning the green onions, which I grew from seed, in the desperate hope that I will have something of respectable size before the snow falls) about my teeny-tiny garden patch.
And whether it’s all worth it when there are grocery stores and even farmers’ markets, brimming with fresh, delicious produce that is for the most part entirely clean and safe for me and my children to eat.
For me, the answer – unlike the lightbulb oven – is YES!
It’s worth it even if we can only “harvest” teeny-tiny amounts of produce, and yes, the pride is somewhat misplaced because I am not even a competent small-scale urban farmer since I get so distracted and laissez-faire and inconsistent and plant beets then forget to water them for 2 weeks so I have no beets, ever.
And I don’t cover the chard with floating row cover (okay, 2-square cover) even though I know the leaf miners will come, because they always come, they have come now three years in a row.
But you know what? There seem to be fewer leaf miner scars this year… which I am hoping is because the good bugs, of which there are plenty, somehow know which are the leaf-miner bugs that let their larvae loose into my nice chard leaves.
So I feel successful, and I feel proud showing off my garden. Dumbly, naively, just like I did presenting that EZ Bake “cake” that must have looked to the grownups like a skinny pancake all goobered up with too much icing and then sliced within an inch of its life with a teeny tiny spatula.