Of course I knew that this day was supposed to be all about new beginnings. But I hadn’t expected that a new beginning would be forced on me like this, so unexpectedly.
Almost everything was decimated — kale, broccoli raab, collards, mustard, radishes, cabbage, and the broccoli with its precious newly emerging florets. The only thing left of our modest garden was a few lone swiss chards poking out of the straw mulch. We’re suspecting rabbits. Squirrels or other small rodents have been around all fall, causing minor damage but never to this extent, and there are no deer here in the heart of the city as far as I know.
A few years ago, when I planted the first garden of my adulthood, I read somewhere that becoming a gardener entails a ten-year learning curve. You can’t really accelerate the learning process, or substitute books for experience: there is no way but to live through all of those seasons, to make all of those mistakes, to experience the wettest year and the hottest year and the aphid invasion and so on. If ever there was a school of trial and error, gardening is it.
And so we’ll have to learn from this loss as well, and move on. Soon it will be time to plant the first seedlings indoors for the spring garden. I already have my eyes on some new seed varieties from the catalog of Sow True Seed, an Asheville-based seed company specializing in open-pollinated and non-GMO seeds. It’ll be fun to plan our spring crops. But I assure you, as we do so, we’ll be incorporating some kind of rabbit fencing or other deterrent in the plan.
Here’s to a new year and a new growing season!