Don’t let the gardening bug bite

Once again, the gardening bug has bitten, hard, right where I keep my brains, rendering me incapable of sitting down and them incapable of operating in any fashion we might call “sensible.”

Gardening has always been fraught with difficulty here in the city. For starters, the stuff under my grass doesn’t really count as soil. It’s more like pulverized landfill, a blend of rocks, broken glass, old chicken bones, pop tops, bottle caps and just enough humus to bind it all together. It is not known for its ability to sustain plant life unless, of course, that plant life is noxious. Then it is the perfect growing medium.

I have tried to augment the plot with liberal applications of topsoil, compost, manure and such. It just disappears. I’m not kidding. I can dump a yard of topsoil on there and within two days the garden will look just like it always did, with chicken bones and broken glass peeking out between the rows.

So here’s my solution: Raised beds. I have four, 4 feet wide by 8 feet long.

I figure, with the beds, I should be able to expand my vegetable crop (OK, at this size, crop-ette) beyond the old standbys of tomatoes and peppers, to add some things I like, such as … well, let me think. I like peas, but I don’t think I’ll have the room. Not sure about green beans, either. I refuse to eat eggplant and I’m not wild about broccoli, so they’re out. Cabbage and potatoes are just nightmares because of the bugs. I can’t stand zucchini for a number of reasons, including if you let it go one day too long, what was once a squash becomes a zeppelin.

So it looks like I am going to be growing a lot of tomatoes and peppers. Salsa, anyone?

Except to make salsa, I am going to have to invest in canning supplies, and then I’ll have to expand the pantry shelves to hold what I preserve.

So, let’s do the math: New raised beds plus four yards of topsoil plus bedding plants plus fertilizer plus bug stuff plus water plus canning supplies plus shelves, divided by the anticipated crop means I am going to be paying something like $9 apiece for homegrown tomatoes.

Oh, I forgot one other expense. I need a new copy of Euell Gibbons’ “Stalking the Wild Asparagus,” with all the information about how you can eat weeds.

As usual, I’m counting on a bumper crop.