Gardening is one of those basic skills — like changing a tire, tying a bow tie and brewing coffee — that everyone ought to master. Post-deluge, you'd hate to be left decaffeinated with a packet of seeds, a lax tux and four flats.
Which is why I plant a garden. I don't expect the family to survive on a cluster of exploded radishes, a few gnarly carrots and a bucket of mint. But I like to foster the illusion that we could. My crop is not so much the hearty tomato, as heartiness itself.
By enlist I mean conscript. My gardeners do not volunteer. Nor do they succumb to bribery. They are forced into hard labor. Minutes of it.
To lighten the load, I encourage them to foster crops they admire. Nonetheless, they know it's a long trudge from sprouted spud to french fry, from strawberry seedling to strawberry shortcake. In between, there will be much digging, watering and weeding .
On our first garden outing this year, my french-fry farmer announced he likes all gardening tasks that do not call for bending.
Nevertheless I persist. One day they will be glad to know how to turn a seed into a meal. One day, they might even enjoy it.
Mint pesto lamb chops
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes per batch
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 cups fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon