Sow There! Sowing alternatives to the perils of the grocery store, 4-24-2020

As soon as the poppies are done with their spring show, the mulched area in my yard will be prime real estate for edible plants. (Heather Hacking — Contributed)
April 24, 2020 

Has it been two or three weeks since I ventured to a local supermarket? Frankly, I can’t remember. At some point I decided grocery shopping made me feel uncomfortable. It was hard to breathe when my mind raced to avoid touching my face, watch for the proximity of strangers, and double-check whether I wiped off the credit card.

Nope, if it doesn’t come from my cupboards or mail delivery, I can probably live without.

Each day I walk at least three miles in my neighborhood. You would think I would be in fairly great shape after a month. Yet, my otherwise toned body is surrounded by this shelter-in-place pudge. The last time I shopped in hoarding mode, I nervously stocked up on my favorite foods.

Soon, I devoured all those barbecue potato chips and chocolate-covered almonds.

Indeed. I needed a variety pack of novelty ice cream bars.

“That should last you for a month,” he said as he dropped off a box of 40.

“You underestimate me,” I replied.

The empty boxes were soon delivered to the green waste can under cover of darkness.

Love in a box. One of the recent surprises from my step-mom included this box of chocolate-covered, cream filled cookies. (Heather Hacking — Contributed)

Even if I foraged the cupboards for two months, I certainly wouldn’t starve.

Last fall my friend Thor came to visit and he must have been really bored. He rearranged my pantry items.

“Why do you have so many cans of water chestnuts, baby corn and cream of mushroom soup?” he asked, placing a can of jackfruit near the pyramid of pink salmon.

“Zombie apocalypse,” I explained.

In the past, many of us only wildly speculated about the possibility of a pandemic. Now is the time to eat those canned beets and kidney beans. Otherwise those emergency foods will be so old we could kill zombies via canned food botulism.

It’s my birthday next week, so I’m certain I won’t need to wait much longer before restocking my supply of sweets. If the pattern continues, my folks will manage to send brown cardboard boxes to my doorstep, filled with chocolate in the shape of dragonflies and Frito’s jalapeno bean dip. My frequent walking buddy, LaDona, has offered to host a socially-distanced birthday party in her cul-de-sac, but that would only be fun if we all wore surgical gloves and tossed around a beach ball. I’ll probably gain five additional pounds that day, looking wistfully out the window.

Seed scramble

Someone told me that garden seeds are among the items stores have had difficulty keeping in stock.

Thank goodness my mother delivered all those seed packets on the eve of the Great Seclusion. Many of us are hopeful for a bountiful vegetable garden in lieu of washing store-bought produce in soap and water.

So far, my radishes and miscellaneous squash are in the sprout stage. This week I filled a 25-gallon plastic half-wine barrel with soil and planted spring greens.

LaDona has an enviable edible garden. She covered her scraggly turf with layers of cardboard, which was covered in wood chips. Clumps of perennial herbs grow undisturbed by weeds and she allows her veggies go to seed. When I visit her backyard through the side gate, I keep a safe distance from her while nibbling on volunteer arugula. Recently, she sent me home with two small artichokes, which I soaked in a bowl of water. I had so much time on my hands, I counted 15 earwigs, some in the pupal state, that emerged from the buds.

I’m hopeful that before I shrivel from a Vitamin K deficiency, the seeds planted in my 25-gallon barrel will be bursting with spinach and red leaf lettuce. Beans have also been planted along the cyclone fence and zucchini seedlings are gasping for sunlight in the black plastic truck bed liner.

I have time on my hands, and if my neighbor keeps delivering ice cream novelty bars, I should have plenty of cardboard. I’m shamelessly planning to copy LaDona’s edible garden lead.

Ah, all those months when I was too busy working to visit friends, too dramatically swamped to pull weeds, too frazzled to catch up with my parents and my toenails were never painted. How many times did I wish that I just had time to watch the grass grow?

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