The Kilbourn Park organic plant sale has come and gone, and once again I feel as if I’ve woken from a blackout and found myself responsible for a large group of fragile children. Delicious, juicy children.

Every year seemingly mild-mannered, soft-spoften types in sun hats line up outside the park’s greenhouse like they’re waiting for Van Halen tickets. They pore over the proffered list of tomatoes, flowers, herbs, and vegetables, waiting for the gates to open before filing into the greenhouse’s narrow aisles to pick out plants that promise freakishly beautiful fruit with names like Green Zebra, Banana Legs, Cherokee Purple, Mr. Stripey, Box Car Willie, Hungarian Heart. Everyone’s polite and orderly at first but soon the initial stages of Garden Acquisitive Disorder set in, complicated by instances of Aggravated Greenhouse Rage among the ever-more-tightly-packed throng. Many in this crowd–at least for the summer months–prefer the company of plants to other humans, and you can watch their faces tighten like catcher’s mitts as they try mightily to balance their flimsy plastic flats filled with greenery against the pulsing tide. Much to their credit, the volunteers who run the event are unfailingly helpful and enthusiastic and do the best they can with crowd control.

Once I make my escape I’m forced to deal with the very real possibility that I can’t physically maintain the garden I’ve just invested in. This year I bought 14 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, four peppers (sweet and hot), four herbs, and some kale. I’ll spend the next three weeks potting them (yes, this works) and hauling them up to the roof (yes, this hurts).

Then the annual war against the squirrels begins. I use a no-kill trap and let them go, but this year I’m considering a few burgoo recipes. The thought of city squirrel makes me snirch, but how bad can they be if they’re feeding on these tomatoes? Anyone ever tried city squirrel?