I know summer doesn't technically start until tomorrow but as far as I'm concerned summer starts when the temps hit the 90's and make no move to come back down. This is my reality. This is summer.
I don't think I need to tell you that the heat in the south is ridiculous. A man once told me that Nashville in the summertime feels like standing inside somebody's mouth, which I think is pretty accurate. For this reason most of my life I've hated summer and I've dealt with the season by wrapping myself in a cocoon of ice cream and not stepping a toe outside it until September. This year however, I decided to lose my mind and mix things up a little.
In a moment of insanity/summer break folly I (ambitiously) started two gardens, an herb garden in buckets on my apartment balcony that started out small but ballooned into a jungle of fourteen pots of herbs two tomatoes a pepper and a squash plant. And I started a somewhat medium sized garden annex in my mother's stolen back yard that has also grown to ridiculous size. I am however despite the heat, totally addicted to both of these projects. For the past month I've found myself getting up at the crack of dawn for a run, and once my feet tire and I'm magnificently sweaty, I make a pit stop at my mother's house to tend to my squash babies, (you know, give them shower, check on their leaves, mix up some fertilizer) and I almost always end up fooling around for more than an hour. I don't usually plan to do this, it's hot, I'm sweaty, the sun is beaming down, I just can't resist the chance to check up on my little plants every day.
This gardening thing really surprised me. It started off as sort of a throwaway idea but I've found that it's so rewarding watching little seeds turn into sprouts, turn into flowers, turn into food, that I just keep on planting things. And I keep on reading and learning and thinking about planting things so the garden keeps growing and the sickness continues.
In fact I've spend so much free time reading about hand pollination, insects, what fertilizer to use, and what can grow with what, that I've started to develop this little fantasy where I have a this beautiful intimate restaurant with a massive garden in the back. I grow all my own tomatoes and berries and peppers, and I raise my own bees. The eclectic menu changes from day to day depending on what's looking the best in the garden, and sometimes I just shut it all down to have an uninterrupted heart to heart with my seedlings. I love this fantasy. It usually washes over me when I'm wrist deep in dirt, or when I'm weeding and I find a surprise little green tomato just starting to form. It's a wonderful feeling of bliss, even if that little restaurant never exists. It makes me think that maybe I've misjudged the better parts of summer. That despite its ridiculous saliva-like humidity that maybe there is something about it to really love, even if it's just a few stolen moments in the dirt.