Spring Theory

Originally published in Chapter16.org

sad kale

It has been five years since I first asked my husband, “Why don’t we just grow our own food?” and we set out to farm our sunless quarter-acre in urban Nashville. After a half-decade of composting, weeding, and watering, I can safely declare the experiment in self-sustainability a success. But not in the way I had hoped.

If measured on a scale—not from one to ten, but an actual scale—the fruits of my labor could be tallied in ounces, not pounds. There was that handful of blueberries we harvested one year. And that sublime ear of corn the next. There has been the occasional arugula salad and the intermittent tomato, but for the most part there has been drought, excessive shade, blight, rot, and cussing. Thank God for mint, which perennially pushes through parched soil and into iced bourbon with enough fortitude to make us forget our farming heartache, at least for a cocktail hour or two. The full story