Over the winter I read The Secret Garden to the boys. It's one of my favorites and the boys soaked it right up. One of the themes is the simple goodness and nourishment of digging in the earth and making things grow. Mary requests "a bit of earth" on her uncle's property so that she can dig and plant and weed and resurrect the secret garden of her late aunt. In doing so, she herself is resurrected and becomes the healthy and beautiful little girl she was meant to be. There is something so fully human about digging and planting and tending and something so fulfilling about seeing the little green sprouts poke out of the ground. Every single time I'm amazed that it worked. A seed goes in and a short while later a flower or even (real! edible!) food comes out. Not, um, to say that I'm the one that does all the tilling and digging and planting and tending around here. Oh no. But I sure can wax poetic about it on the keyboard when I want to ;)
We didn't have a garden last year. It's a good amount of work especially in April and May, which last year was right when I was largely pregnant and due with the baby. It was a good decision but we did miss it. This year we're making up for it and the husband has done a great job putting everything in and keeping it watered during these past dry dry weeks. I'm actually selfishly thrilled that it hasn't rained much, though I feel bad for the big farmers. Our yard is dry and the weeds are low.
We're so blessed with this little bit of earth we've been given. I feel the need to remember that it's all a gift. Years ago we asked God for the right home and land for our family and He gave us this. It's served us well and we've tried to take care of it the best we can. Provided we can keep out any nibblers or nasty garden bugs (which is a pretty idealistic little dream, I know), we should have a pretty large haul in a few weeks. And I'll probably be amazed once again that a few little seeds could turn into food for my family.
The boys - especially the four and seven year old - have been helping in the garden lots. It's so good for them. David requested his own little bit of earth a few days ago to plant some flowers. He cleared out a little section on the property next to us in a random place next to the burn pile. I spied him out the window yesterday sitting in the dirt working so hard to clear it out. This morning I gave him some zinnia seeds to plant. He carefully planted a dozen and
drowned watered them well. We'll see how it goes.
For the garden files:
We planted from seed broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, lettuce mix, carrots, pole beans (2 kinds), snap peas, shell peas, corn, cucumber, white pumpkins, orange pumpkins, zucchini, summer squash, red potatoes, golden potatoes, russet potatoes, sunflowers, and marigolds.
From nursery plants we planted lots of cherry tomatoes (sweet 100's), a couple roma tomatoes, yellow peppers, banana peppers, and basil. (Our tomato and pepper plants never seem to do well from seed.)
Do you like our rustic little garden signs??
Our nine year old had the task of working on the new signs. Using clean pallet wood, he used the wood burning kit received for Christmas and labelled all the plants. I love that he did it pretty much all on his own. It took longer than he anticipated and there were a few episodes of frustration when he realized that someone *cough*myhusband*cough* had spelled some of the words wrong for him. In all fairness, zucchini and broccoli are a bit tricky ;) But he pushed through and now this project is his to claim.
The husband and boys then attached them to sticks from the yard or salvaged from the burn pile. Depending on the size of the stick they used either nails or fencing staples to attach.
Tending his bit of earth
""You can have as much earth as you want," he said. "You remind me of someone else who loved the earth and things that grow. When you see a bit of earth you want," with something like a smile, "take it, child, and make it come alive."
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