So, the White House will have a victory garden, a bit of news appropriately released on the first day of spring. Glad to hear it. I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out — I’ll go out on a limb here and predict “spectacularly,” mainly because I’m not in charge — but I’m particularly interested in seeing the shapes it makes the president’s enemies contort themselves into, given their calm, considered reaction to the Special Olympics joke and the Wednesday night cocktail parties.
The main story has a map graphic, and I’m puzzled by all that lettuce. Even a thin family like the Obamas can’t eat that many salads, and lettuce will be a non-starter in a D.C. climate once the summer really settles in. My guess is, this is the initial planting map, and there’ll be quite a bit of modification down the road.
It so happens I’m thinking similar thoughts here at Casa de NN.C. We are infamous for our concrete back yard, but we do have a little tillable patch at the back of the lot that could be put into use as a garden. It would involve taking out a tree, not a big one, but it’s the stuff that would come after that discourages me. I’ve written before about the incredibly aggressive animal population here, probably a direct result of Detroit toughness in general. Squirrels here can be reliably counted on to strip tomato plants clean. The rabbits carry switchblades. My victory garden would have to be fenced and possibly roofed with chicken wire to discourage looting by the animal kingdom.
And any garden produce we grew ourselves would take away from my weekly trip to the Eastern Market, the most pleasant errands of the warm season. So maybe not. The tree lives another year.
The Obamas’ garden will feature hyssop, notable for being the designated paintbrush used to mark the Israelites’ homes with blood during the first Passover, in Egypt. This is clearly a coded message to Obama’s followers to prepare for the Great Purge of Conservatives; I’ll be starting some in a container as soon as the threat of frost abates.
They’re also growing collards. Rush Limbaugh can get some laughs out of that one.
The map doesn’t show, but the story states, that there will be two beehives “for honey,” which strikes me as a bit showy. For pollination, sure, but as we’ve discussed here before, growing your own food and being a locavore tiptoes dangerously close to being a boring jerk sometimes, and I hope the Obamas don’t use their private beehives to lecture their guests about the top notes of the local honey. (That said, I bought a small jar of local honey last summer at the market, in part because the label amused me — “Detroit honey” sounds more like a variety of heroin to my ear — and because I wondered if it would glow in the dark. The whole metro area has seen so much old-school manufacturing over the last century that it’s safe to assume every square inch of soil contains more heavy metal than Ozzfest. And yet, I still eat it, because I assume it coats the innards against more exotic invaders.)
On my season-opening bike rides last weekend, I checked out my friend Steve’s place. Steve used to write a gardening column for the paper in Fort Wayne, and has tilled every inch of his own yard, right down to the park strip. He’s generous with the bounty; a local dog-walker has his permission to take one leaf of Swiss chard every week to feed her iguana. Most of his stuff is behind fences, but the park-strip plot is still there, heaped with compost and waiting to be tilled. He rotates, like a good organic farmer, so I don’t know what’s going in that spot this year. I’m hoping for heirloom tomatoes. Or maybe some hyssop.
What’s in your garden?