I saw the saddest veggie garden today. My heart went out to it. I know its gardener meant well, but the good intentions were lost on this garden.
It looked more like a prison for plants than a place to grow food. I'm sure the heavy coat of landscape fabric was meant to control weeds, perhaps warm the soil. Instead the plants stuck stiffly out of the holes, properly spaced but awkward and fruitless. It was almost like each veggie plant was being forced to wear a scratchy turtleneck in the hot summer heat. That fabric may be permeable but those plants looked thirsty too. And those bricks, they had a threatening air about them.
I couldn't help but think about how happy the veggies looked back home in my garden. My veggies are planted a little close, so much that they hug each other. There is co-mingling. Errant bean tendrils twist 'round zinnia stems. Limbs loaded with tomatoes spill over the edges. Cucumber vines furnish ramps for ants to ascend. There are lots of bees, bugs and other lively creatures acting out the circle of life, pollinating the blooms and keeping any damage in check. There's color too.
When I saw that sad little veggie garden I wanted to throw back the black hood that was holding it back, let the soil soak up the rain. But I didn't. Instead I went home and picked beans from tangled towers and pulled up crowded carrots while the humming of bees lingered on the breeze, grateful for my harvest.