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  • I would love to call myself a farmer, or even a gardener. I love feeling soil pack under my fingernails, leaving dark brown crescents above the pink quick. Going off the grid and growing my own food is a fantasy I play over & over in my mind, and I've hosted many a small plant over the years. Tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro & mint. (Mint, everyone told me, is impossible to kill. ) Potatoes. Unfortunately I lack the qualities required to have a green thumb.

    A whim will strike and I will fill a pot with soil and perlite (for better drainage), sprinkle in a few seeds, and add a thin layer of topsoil, then stick the whole thing in a sunny spot. For a long time that was the entirety of my plant care: put the seeds in a pot, give a little pat, and wish them good luck. Over time I developed the basic skills necessary to keep them alive longer; watering, for starters, helped plants grow. Who knew? Nothing ever really stuck, though. After the third unkillable mint that died in my care (I wanted them to grow so badly that I named each of them: Julep, 1-3), I gave up for a while and stuck to the farmer's market.

    Over the winter a new whim struck, and I planted one pot each of beets, salad greens, and turnips. The salad greens never got big enough to cut for eating, but they did look pretty in the backyard. Squirrels fought over the beets, and in the end I was left with one sad little plant that is still growing. I don't have the heart to harvest it yet, when it's so small. The turnips were ignored, and between the bright sun we had over the winter and the benefit of regular watering, they exploded into a big, gorgeous mess of green.

    Today is the first day of spring, and the turnips are ready to eat.
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