Sun Salutations.  Inverness, April 2008.

Yesterday I wrote about wanting to dig into the vegetable garden beds behind our garage as soon as I get home.  I love those beds; I love dreaming about what will go in them once spring springs; I love sinking my hands into the dirt and hauling bags of manure over them to rejuvenate the soil; I love the promise they hold.  Yesterday was no different.

I started thinking: what will go in this year?  Our daily favorites: chard and kale, which go into morning eggs almost all the time; butter lettuce, my favorite kind; tomatoes, because there is a god…but wait, I don’t want to give up our wonderful CSA boxes either, and we have a hard enough time getting through all the picked-that-morning produce that our farm provides.  Do we need more vegetables?  As much as I relish the fantasy of becoming an urban homesteader, I also want to be practical and not plant veggies just for the sake of thinking myself an off-the-grid foodie.

But those beds…what a shame to put them to waste.  I really do love being out there, next to our berry bushes and grapevines and pluot and Asian pear trees.  What else can I grow at home that would add to our quality of life?  Give me the satisfaction of regular garden work, save us a bit in the budget area, and enhance our home?

In other words, when is a vegetable garden not a vegetable garden?

Maybe when it’s a cutting garden?  I adore fresh flowers in the house, and apart from the dollar-clusters of daffodils at Trader Joe’s and one bundle of my beloved tulips in the spring, I rarely make room in the spending plan for blooms.  They’ll die so quickly, I reason; is it really worth it?  We don’t really have a great place to keep them now.  Couldn’t that money be better spent? I have to agree, and so our house goes without the kind of sunshine that springs from a vase on the dining room table.

But perhaps this year could be different.  Can I grow a respectable cutting garden in two 4×8-foot beds in the backyard?  Of course, it must be possible!  Can I create one that will provide flowers for a good 8 or 9 months?  There must be a way.  Do I know how to do it?  Not a clue.  Let the research begin.

Do you have a cutting garden?  Which annuals do you like most for cut flowers?  What advice can you offer?  Teach me, friends!