After the sleepy, slow pace of winter, late spring can be almost overwhelming. Gone are the pale yellow squash and hearty greens. In their place is a sensory overload of bright green asparagus, sweetly smelling berries, and delicate tulips. The addition of new vendors and 'sexier' produce to the farmers markets brings an almost tangible increase in energy as more customers join the usual mix. This year however, I got to experience the excitement of spring in a whole new way. After attending over 25 different farmers markets around the world, I finally decided to try my hand at gardening. I lucked out with fertile soil, healthy seeds, and pretty decent weather patterns. A few days after planting, I could already see the little tops of my radishes poking through the ground. That was only the beginning. As late spring hit, my garden went nuts. At first, I was thrilled to serve salads for dinner made with bok choy and little gem lettuces from my very own garden. I loved realizing that I didn't have enough basil for a recipe, and just strolling down to my backyard to pick some. But then it started coming too fast. My cilantro started to bolt, my radishes turned cottony, and my zucchini plant blocked my beet plants from the sun.
Finally, I decided to pull all of my heads of lettuce and distribute them to everyone I knew. Next I got rid of the cilantro, cooked off the kale, and thinned out almost half of my carrots. Things are a bit calmer now as I wait for my beets and onions to grow, but I've recently realized with a new wave of panic that no one will be there to tend my garden while I'm out of the country for the next few weeks. I never knew how much attention a garden demands and how stressful maintaining one can be. It's exactly like having a pet! I almost longing for the cooler days of fall and a garden full of easier, more self-sufficient root vegetables. Almost.