For a half-dozen reasons, we got off to a slow start in the food bank beds this year. We cleared cover crop and weeded the beds one rainy weekend back in March, and it all grew back when we didn’t plant in time. Later we seeded beets and chard, but nothing grew. Too cold? Too wet? Who knows. We moved on and planted donated collard seedlings and onion starts; the collards fried on a hot day before they could get a footing. The beds became overrun with weeds again while we sought out a new supply of seed. Finally we planted a single bed of tough-looking brassica seedlings, and they managed to survive. All in all, it’s been pretty frustrating.

Nevertheless we’ve managed a few small deliveries this year to the Rainier and Cherry St. food banks, mostly with donations from generous individual gardeners. Yesterday we brought in armloads of herbs pruned out from the patch’s unruly herb garden.

“Boy that smells good,” floor manager Mike said, taking the bundles from me. I hadn’t seen him in a long time and wished there was more to give, like last year, when I made deliveries on a near-weekly basis or so it seemed. No matter. Something close to giddiness spread through the food bank kitchen as people buried their noses in stems of mint and bay leaf.

“These will be gone as soon as you turn around,” he said.