It seems funny to refer to living in Vidalia as urban, but what we’ll have will basically be a city garden. And even though I have a big beard, enjoy listening to American roots music and ancient chant and really like art, it will not — I repeat — will not be a hipster garden.

It’s late February, which means it’s time to start our herb growing in inside planters, but this spring I’m faced with environmental concerns that are unique to living in river towns, and perhaps especially in the Mississippi delta.

The Mississippi River has already reached flood stage this year, and while it’s currently down it’s still high, and will still be high when the spring rise comes again.

Which means I’m going to have to deal with seep water.

Seep water happens when the river reaches a level to which it gets into the groundwater table and raises the water table to…well, the surface. At the moment I have two-and-a-half inches of water standing in my front yard.

Seep water is doubly problematic. It’s not healthy water, and even if it was, that much standing water will over time drown most plants. Over the last two years I’ve seen seep water kill well established trees, not to mention ornamentals and grass. The garden we ate from last year happened to be on one of the few places on the property that didn’t have a lot of standing water.

The back area, which I’ve recently fenced in, is somewhat raised at one end, and that’s where I am planning to plant. (On the other end, I have two fence posts that I have to wait to sink until the water goes down for a day.) I also plan to combat the seep water issue by using raised square-foot beds. I’ll be building the beds with recycled wood pallets, and hopefully I will be able to do this Monday or Tuesday, depending on the weather.

We’ll be using heritage seeds so that we can save a few of the seeds for growing next year. I’ve read that hybrid seeds tend to do weird things like break down genetically and produce weird fruit in the second generation, if they’re not sterile.

This is just a small start, but you have to start small if you’re not going to burn out.

We just started composting, and since at the moment we’re on a vegetarian diet with limited dairy (it’s a cheater Lenten diet), most of our compost is vegetables…which makes me wonder — will my eggplants be cannibals? Will our tomatoes lust after the flesh of their own kind?

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