A few weeks ago, I came home from work to find my husband at the stove, stirring a fragrant pan of garlic and eggplant, and grinning triumphantly. "We got a plot!" he proudly announced. "Excuse me?" I responded.
Apparently, almost nine months earlier, Bryan had placed our names on the waiting list at Twin Oaks, the community garden a few blocks from our apartment in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. A spot had finally opened up. We were going to garden.
First, a little bit about us—I'm an Atlantic fact checker, and Bryan works in public radio. We've been married about seven months, and have lived in D.C. for almost five years. Neither of us has ever really gardened before, and we have, in fact, killed several basil and thyme plants on our tiny apartment window sill. But we do enjoy cooking. When we first moved to D.C., Bryan worked part-time for Fresh Farm Markets, the organization that runs the Dupont Circle and White House farmers' markets, among others. He got to know a number of area farmers and food activists, which increased our knowledge and interest in local, sustainable farming. Trying to grow our own food was the logical next step.
But I had a few reservations. First, our few forays into window boxes had taught me that amateur gardening can become expensive very quickly. And I worried that the garden would become more of a chore than a hobby. We have a difficult enough time prying ourselves out of bed to go to the gym—were we realistically going to add watering and weeding to our morning routine?