Kitchen Garden Confidential

These mint flowers are from my 'kitchen garden' in Harlem, outside my kitchen window. The fact that they have been left to flower is a clue to the sad fact that I've been neglecting it. That's an understatement, I can barely stand to look at it. It's been an unmitigated disaster due to my own overeaching ambition.

This 'kitchen garden' in years past was just an assortment of terracota pots on a window ledge that I extended to accomodate as many of them as I could which kept me in good supply of all my cooking herb needs. This year I put four large patio pots out there. They fit exactly in the indented space outside the window on my fire escape. I filled them with more than herbs- some strawberry plants, an eggplant, a chilipepper, potatoes a couple of colard greens some assorted greens- just to see what would happen. I was also prepared to be asked to remove them knowing what one shouldn't be placing on a New York city fire escape.

That never happenened but, just as the the strawberries arrived and the eggplant bore a couple of fruit as did the chilipeppers, the squirrels discovered this little patch and began their regular raids. I could have dealt with just the taking of all the fruit and vegetables but the random digging up of plants- sent me over the edge. Why pull up parsley? Soon there were only about five plants left- they left a couple of mints, the chillipepper a dark basil and a collard green which disappeared yesterday morning.

Rather than engage in a futile war with these terrorists, I'm just ignoring it all, seeing what the worst can happen and I'll come up with an entirely different plan next year. Yesterday I saw one of my little anatgonists, banged the window and childishly enjoyed seeing him fly up in the air in fright.

+ Occasional Oasis:The Future of Trees

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