Friday, July 11, 2008

Green Acres

We planted/had our gardener plant a small vegetable garden with tomatoes, peppers, and cabbage. Since we are living in our own-created small community of Tom and his wife, Judith the housekeeper, and Grace the nanny, our thinking was we’ve always loved the idea of growing our own vegetables, and everyone else would as well.

So I bought seeds for some vegetables I knew and recognized. Tom also planted something called mchicha, which is a locally eaten spinach-type green, tembeye, a sort of sweet potato, and corn.

The irony is, the 85% of the country’s GDP is agriculture-based, and the same proportion of the populace are small farmers, with most being subsistence farmers. They grow what they need to live. People behind walls with staff in the house don’t grow vegetables, they buy them. But I’ve always had the organic farmer fantasy without the energy or enthusiasm to actually weed and care take a garden. This garden-delegation project seemed like a dream realized.

We planted in April and it’s now been a few months. The tomato plants are diseased, with a white powdery looking fungus on the leaves, and a fair number of small green tomatoes that have been small and green for some time, and don’t seem inclined to ever get big or red. The pepper plants produced a few gumball-sized green peppers, suitable for stuffing with a single small mushroom, or a half-teaspoon of breadcrumbs. The cabbage refused the invitation to even venture out of the soil.

It is funny that in the midst of my thinking through various work and occupation options here, it is easy to strike the entire gardening/organic-farming category right off the list.

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