|From Ari LeVaux's Slate column|
I was working at home yesterday, and sometime in the afternoon, I grew hungry. Didn't have much time to cook, so it had to be a low effort, what's-in-the-fridge endeavor. We had tomatoes, I had bagoong. I started washing the tomatoes when I spied the patch of alugbati creeping up the side wall.
I'm not sure who planted it anymore: usually, when we buy vegetables, like bunches of camote or alugbati, those branches get sticked into the soil outside the house. It's something that we grew up with when we still had a huge yard with several trees. When I was a kid, there was a summer that we had the backyard overrun with camote. My brother and I would pick the leaves and put them on the rice and have them as snacks, which annoyed our mother as come dinner time, we wouldn't have appetites for a proper meal anymore. So you could be sure that at any given moment, there would be something edible growing in the yard, diminished size or not. Cut vegetables stalks turn into more vegies. Egg shells become fertilizer. But I suppose I've inherited a more practical approach to growing things.
When people talk about gardening, it's usually this big effort--not to mention the expense that comes with cultivating plants. The idea of growing one's food is something that can be done to help out with the food expense. People are concerned with "local" and "organic" and "carbon footprints," but for the life of me, I cannot bring myself to pay a hundred bucks for a small tin of cherry tomatoes. It's just not practical.
It even becomes more complicated when you talk about city or urban gardening. There isn't enough space, specially if one lived in an apartment or a cramped condo unit.
I was glad to run into this "lazy gardener's high yield technique," and it's simply this: throw seeds in the garden. It's so low effort, and yet you get good returns. I have been planning to start a more "proper" garden, but like Ari LeVaugh, it takes me a while to get things done. So I like this approach. It's so similar to our stick it in and watch it grow approach that I'm sure it would work.
So yesterday, I saw the alugbati and picked off the leaves, blanched them, and ate them along with my tomato and bagoong salad. I count myself lucky for that small patch of earth we can stick things in. Now if only I can get myself to be a little less lazy and clear the yard so there would be more room to scatter seeds in.