Monday, June 24, 2013

Garden Gone Gangbusters

Sometimes I get carried away fretting over the two additional rows of corn that I didn't get planted. Or the five blueberry bushes that were supposed to be nine by this summer. Or when the next load of free wood chips will be delivered so I can keep this cursed Curly Dock under control.

Lyla watering

And then I remember the REAL reason I planted this garden in the first place.

Of course, I'm not exactly a reluctant gardener. I LOVE growing my own food.

When I was a teenager my neighbor had a small stock pile of half-dead nursery plants under his back deck. I'm pretty sure they were the remnants of a failed business venture. Among those plants were a few blueberry bushes. Something lit up inside me when he said I could have them. Really, these things were just pitiful. If not already dead, they certainly weren't far from plant heaven.

I dug a few shallow holes into the packed Georgia red clay and plopped my soon-to-be miracles in the ground. Surely, I had the magic touch and could rescue these precious blueberry bushes. Needless to say, I never tasted any of those much-anticipated berries.

As a newlywed living on campus at the University of Washington, I tried to keep tomato plants alive on the small patio sandwiched between the apartments on either side of us. And I was mildly successful...until the raccoons discovered them.

When we lived in Michigan, again in student housing, we rented a 10x10 garden plot about 1/4 mile from our townhouse. In Michigan you just have to think about growing food and it will grow. But I was pregnant and sick for much of our gardening time there. The broccoli went to seed and the strawberries got mushy before we ever even noticed them.

When it came time to actually buy a house in Washington we looked for acreage. I wanted my children to understand that food didn't come from Costco. I wanted them to learn to subdue the earth and pray for a good harvest. And yes, have ample opportunity for REAL chores. Chores that if not done, held REAL consequences. When the chickens don't get fed they don't produce any eggs. When the bedding in the goat barn stays nasty for long enough the goats get sick.

I'm still holding out for chickens next summer, and maybe goats the summer after that, but as my neighbor puts it, "I went gangbusters"  with the garden.

I admit I've never heard that phrase before, but I guess I know what it looks like and love what it means for my children.

Halle harvesting

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