Watercolor painting of sweet peas in vase

Sweet Peas

I have not written a blog post in so long that I can’t remember when I last wrote. I have kept up busking and working for my friend Elaine. I even painted a couple of new paintings this spring. I continue to be interested in eating clean food, while Monsanto contaminates the food supply with glyphosate and who knows what else.

Emerald Dent Corn

If I grow my own food organically, I know what has gone into it. For a few years I have grown kale and chard, butternut squash and tomatoes. Last year I added Thai basil. I’ve grown beans before, mostly to fix nitrogen in the soil: although I love fresh green beans, the aphids loved them, too, so I plant scarlet runner beans to go with this year’s emerald dent corn.

After severe drought, California got rain in 2017 and I am able to start thinking about planting trees and shrubs in my no-shade yard. I dream constantly about peach trees, a Fuyu persimmon to shade the patio, a pomegranate, a kadota fig tree, apples and blackberries and raspberries, a Meyer lemon. I have been studying books on backyard orchards and radical pruning to keep trees to six feet.

At the same time I dream of home-grown fruit and relieving shade, I see every eyesore and obstacle in my yard and work to transform them. I have neither money to hire work done nor funds for trellises and pavers — I want what I have to spend to go for trees and vines. I am neither handy or particularly strong, having been disabled from birth by cerebral palsy. I am good, however, at finding alternative ways to do things.

Lately, I have been finding objects. Today I dragged this old box spring three quarters of the way down my street because the wood framing looked like a trellis to me. Or a raised bed.

Bed or Trellis?

A kindly neighbor carried it into my backyard and leaned it against my fence where it awaits its transformation.

I build a compost heap in a rotting stump to speed decomposition because the stump occupies the area where I want my persimmon tree. I scavenge large sheets of cardboard to solarize the weeds in the side yard where I think the berry patch is going to be.

Whenever I get stuck, I just ask myself, what can I do? There are weeds to pull and tomatoes to pick and cardboard to bring home, seagull feathers to pick up from the ground to fold into the compost bins. It isn’t planting season yet, but there is time to disrupt weed growth, to make worm tea, to find garden tools at Berkeley’s Urban Ore. The corn is growing and someday, despite my impatience, I will have garden fruit.