> jumping into life.

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The Native Seeds/SEARCH catalogue came yesterday, and this morning I sat with my tea and my scrambled eggs and wished I was staying in one place for the summer. Nine pages of beans, two pages of chiles, three pages of squash, and a tomato named for this town. An actual backyard. Forget for moment that it is winter yet (though warm warm warm during the day) that it hasn't rained in months (though they're predicting it this weekend!) - a backyard! If I planted this year, it would be my first garden not in pots.

However, I have a terrible secret to share: I am not a very good gardener.

I am an enthusiastic gardener, I'll give you that. I've gardened in places that did not lend themselves to gardens: my sun-baked roof in Philadelphia, or the foggy, foggy, foggy deck of my parents' house in California. Last year I had a pair of ragged tomatoes scuttling across the floors of my north-windowed apartment. I try.

But the plants in Philly - started in egg cartons, and planted into soda bottles and milk jugs, mostly - got blown about by the wind, ravaged by neighborhood cats, and eventually fried when I went out of town and my boyfriend forgot to water them. The greens and potatoes in Monterey did alright, but the tomatoes were a sorry thing to see. Last year I put my poor plants out in the sun on my front step and went to class each morning, until a freak hailstorm did them in. Really, I'm not even good at keeping houseplants alive. In short, my attempts at gardening have gone generally kaput.

Nonetheless, here I sit in mid-February, eyeing the soil in my backyard. Backyard! But I'll be leaving likely in May; hardly enough time to get greens up, much less tomatoes. (Why is it that every garden is judged by its tomatoes? The wine barrels on my parents' deck really did produce some great papas and spinach, but I called it a failure because the tomatoes rotted before they were ripe. How's that?)

I could put everything in pots and take them to my parents' foggy deck when I move. (Oh, but the backyard.) Or I could just plant away and hope that the next person to live here likes beans.