Bill, the girls, and I have been experimenting with a few patches of vegetable gardens here and there this year. Our back yard is interspersed with fruit, vegetable, and flower gardens, in amongst the lawn and playground equipment. Bill has a plot out at his parents' home, and the girls and I planted a garden with a friend at her home as well.
While Bill has a background in large-scale agriculture, and small backyard plots don't much interest him, the girls and I have been learning a lot and rejoicing over the small rewards we have so far been able to lay claim to.
Here's today's harvest.
The zucchini are growing like mad. The cucumbers are doing well. The Brussels sprouts are almost ready. We are hopeful about the cantaloupes, carrots, and pumpkins. The tomatoes are suffering. The ichiban has flat-out died. Every now and then we get some peppers (bell and hot), and today I picked a handful of green beans--enough for our family to enjoy a meal. (They will be cooked crisp-tender, not mushy.)
I'm learning some lessons as we go along.
Bigger is not always better. Next year, I will plant less and space it out farther.
There's value in old farming ways. Epsom salt in the soil does seem to help prevent tomato blight.
Weeding the garden twice a week is NOT enough to keep ahead of the weeds. (There's bound to be a life lesson here, about the daily need of grace and forgiveness.)
I love the smell of tomato plant leaves.
I do not like the smell of green bean plants, and a half hour rooting around among them will leave enough of that scent on my skin to make me offend myself for as long as it takes to get to the showers.
Wear long sleeves when picking squash. The leaves and stems have invisible pricklies all over them.
Baby cantaloupes are as cute as baby animals. Soft and fuzzy and so full of potential.
Get the corn well established before you plant the beans and squash around it.
Don't forget to be amazed at the tremendous variety that can come from the same plot of soil.
The farmer scatters the seed and knows not how it grows. But the Sower sows.
Planting seeds is a sure sign that the planter is capable of hope.