The Garden | Day 26
The lettuce and spinach are up! I imagine they were a bit surprised to emerge in rainy 48˚ days, but hopefully this warm weekend will encourage them. Come along, little salads.
I believe one of the purest things of beauty in this world is to live in relationship with others where you trust each other enough to laugh well together.
Food is such an integral part of all of our lives, and when you start to play a significant role in its preparation you can taste the result.
The Garden | Day 16
We planted the garden after work yesterday. It was great to leave our phones inside, get our hands dirty and work until dark.
Getting dirt on my hands reminds me of my Dad. I grew up helping him farm and work in his small greenhouse. I mostly loathed those tasks back then, but now I am so thankful for them. Before retiring, Dad was a highschool assistant principal and wore a tie to work everyday, but in the summertime he would usually come home and work outside until dark. He has a gentle demeanor, a steady “scoff at blisters” type work ethic, and sort of a perpetual deep mirth that surfaces in some surprising and hysterical ways.
My grandfather was the same way. Papa was a farmer who used to call his hayfields “Reed’s Fitness and Tanning Salon”. (Spend an afternoon loading 80lb. alfalfa bales and you’ll understand why.)
I hope I end up just like them.
This year Kacie and I planted tomatoes, squash, zuchini, and watermelon straight in the ground. We made a raised planter box from a pallet I salvaged and deconstructed awhile back for lettuce and spinach. We also have a few herb plants in pots: basil, cilantro, grapefruit mint and rosemary. It’s not a huge selection, but it’s one we find manageable and practical.
Everything we are growing this year we got from Dad’s greenhouse (except the lettuce and carrots, which we are growing from seed). So far we’ve only spent $7.76 on this whole thing. (Confession: I did also excitedly buy a waterhose…which makes me feel very much like an adult.) It’s a much more affordable way to get fresh vegetables, even if you have to buy the plants. It’s much more enjoyable, too.
So, now we wait.
There is barely a social exchange that we don’t complement with something to eat or drink, from our christening to our death.
Kacie and I broke ground on our garden last night. We asked our landlord for permission to excavate a bit of the yard, and surprisingly, he happily complied. It’s not necessarily the most ideal spot, but it will certainly do for a few small things.
I’ve always loved gardening. I’m still quite a country boy at heart, so good hard work feels like home to me. It’s great to get outside in this perfect spring weather after a day spent mostly behind a screen.
It’s more than that to me though. A garden is a great teacher. It’s a context to learn about life. Hope. Growth. Labor. Process. Those are just a few of many things you’ll discover there. I find it to be innately spiritual. And of course it’s satisfying to put food on our table (and yours too, neighbor!).
Since there hadn’t previously been a garden here, our first step is to scalp the grass up and begin to break up the soil. Tilling up everything not only removes the possible competitors for your plant’s nutrients, but it also makes the ground a supple place for new roots. There’s always a little temptation to skimp at this point–just dig up a hole in the grass and plant your plant there–or not be too meticulous removing the grass and roots. This creates more work later when gouging out a massive, now regularly watered, grass clump means potentially uprooting the plants you want to keep. It’s worth the labor to do it right the first time, and like most things in life, if you want something removed it’s best to get it at the roots.
I was happy to find that this soil looks pretty rich. We’ve probably got one more day of just busting up the ground, and then we’ll let it sit a few days to let the sun do its job in finishing off all the little things that may have missed our eye.
I love this process.