It’s been quite awhile since I’ve updated you on how our garden is coming along, and well, it’s booming. Where there used to be plenty of walking space, there is now a thriving maze of plants and vines which require some delicate footwork to maneuver around. With this unusually rainy summer, we’ve only had to water 3 times all year! Honestly, it has almost been too much rain. For a few weeks it was pretty much a mud puddle out there, and not having a good balance of sun causes things to easily rot. Now that the seasons seem to have somewhat remembered themselves, things are really growing fast.
We’ve been enjoying lettuce for a weeks now and it’s probably about past it’s prime. It’s not really cut out for the super hot part of summer, but may revive a bit in early fall. It’s so amazing how much better it tastes and how much longer it lasts than what you’d buy in the store.
Now the tomatoes are starting to come in, and we are about to have more than we know what to do with. I had to add 4ft of hogwire fence to the top of each tomato cage because they are growing so big. We’ve been keeping count, and so far we’ve had 4 larger tomatoes and about 20 of the little baby salad size. The baby ones are so sweet I often eat them right off the vine, so they rarely make it to the house.
We also have yellow crookneck squash, zucchini and butternut squash. We’ve probably had about 8 zucchini so far, and I’d guess about 3 squash. We aren’t really sure when we are supposed to pick the butternut squash, but we think it grows on the vine a good bit longer—sort of like a gourd or a pumpkin. I’d guess the biggest one is about ready.
It’s continued to be a really rewarding project. It’s really satisfying to eat the fruit of your labor, and I still really enjoy the “work” aspect of being out there after a long day behind a computer.
If you live nearby, we’d love to share with you. Ask!
The Garden | Day 52
Now that our weather seems to have normalized a bit, the garden has really taken off. The lettuce is just about ready to pick, other vegetables are in bloom, and we even have one marble sized ‘mater out there.
It won’t be long now. In many ways, the garden is a parable of hope. I don’t think I’d do this if it was only to see plants grow awhile and then die. I want it to be fruitful. I’m often reminded when I’m out digging weeds that fruit takes time.
It really does amaze me how this process happens. All we’ve really done is pull a weed here and there and watered occasionally. Somehow–miraculously–plants grow. Fruit comes. A brown seed stretches into a tall green plant a thousand times its original size. All day, while we go about our lives not giving them a thought, they are drinking in the sun, pulling water from the soil and growing against gravity. It’s an inconceivable miracle happening on a little dirt stage, and it reminds me that the involuntary systems behind our world are absolutely staggering. (When’s the last time you thought about your heart beating?) There are so many things in life where we have an indispensable role and yet have to surrender that we honestly can’t decisively make anything happen. It makes me feel accurately, heathily small.
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
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.