Back in March, I started this whole process by incubating teeny seeds in the sunroom. When the baby plants sprouted, we gave them lots of tender loving care until they were ready to head out, like shy kindergarteners, into the yard on their own. We're now in what my farmer-friend John calls the youngster or school-age stage. That's when all the plants are well-behaved, lined up, staying in their respective areas, doing as they're told.
Next comes the teenage stage of growth spurts and lanky limbs with everybody sneaking into each other's beds. This stage includes lots of sex and is when things seem to be getting out of control. But soon enough everybody's concentrating on producing off-spring, and over the course of the summer (with a little luck) we'll have an abundance of beans, bok choi, broccoli, carrots, corn, cukes, eggplant, lettuce, melons, potatoes, squash and tomatoes. Eventually things will begin to wind down, until all that's left are the dry, skeletal remains of what were once gorgeous lush plants, coming to the end of their productive season.