Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

Come Spring...

The thing that most compelled me to take the leap and move into my new home was the spacious garden in the back. It has a 9' x 12' concrete patio, surrounded on two sides by a fenced yard. The moment I laid eyes on it, visions of an abundant vegetable garden, trimmed at the edges with beds of brightly colored flowers danced in my head. After ten years in a second-story dwelling, with nary more than a tiny landing, bereft of all but two hours of sunlight each day outside my back door, upon which to grow a few meager plants in pots and window boxes, I was giddy at the notion of plunging my hands into Mother Earth and nurturing a fecund crop of all my favorite agrarian delights.

So eager was I to get started on my garden that, weeks before a single moving box was packed, I went online and found a website featuring a vast array of Ferry Morse seeds at half the suggested retail price. And I'm not ashamed to say, I went hog wild. I ordered Kentucky Blue Pole Beans, Bok Choi, Cantaloupes, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Sweet Corn, Cucumbers, Pickling Cucumbers, Japanese Eggplant, Leeks, Romaine Lettuce, Mesculin Gourmet Greens, Snow Peas, Sugar Peas, Jalapeno Peppers, Bell Peppers, Poblano Peppers, Pumpkins, Radishes, Soybeans, Spinach, Yellow Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Watercress, Watermelons, and Zucchini.

For my herb garden, I chose Basil, Catnip, Chives, Dill, Marjoram, Parsley, Peppermint, and Spearmint. And for flowers, Impatiens, Lobelia, Marigolds, Nasturtiums, Sweet William and Lilliput Zinnias.

The whole bill, including shipping, cost less than a single trip to my favorite produce market, and the seeds arrived in only two days. In the next few weeks, while the ground is still soft from all the winter rain we've been getting, I will till the soil and wait for the danger of frost to pass in late March before planting. And although I know that the harvest is months away, I can't wait to begin preparing my Dinner & a Movie menus with freshly harvested vegetables from my very own garden.

The garden is also graced with what I think may be a cherry tree, which I hope will burst into a profusion of pink blossoms around the same time as Ohanami in Japan. And a few intrepid poppy-pink blossoms of a Japanese plum tree are already putting on a delicate floral show for me just outside my kitchen window, which sure does make the drudgery of washing dishes a little less dreadful. And each morning, as I begin my day's work at my desk overlooking what will soon be my shade garden, where I will plant the watercress and bok choy, it takes an act of great will not to abandon my task list and spend the day getting gleefully grimy instead. Ah...patience, dear...patience.