Gardening is in my blood. I remember picking green beans in my Grandpa’s garden. Every summer, Grandpa planted a garden on his ranch in Utah and it was huge, probably two acres worth of vegetables including the sweetest, most delicious corn I’ve ever tasted. I recently wrote about my Mom’s love of gardening here, which has earned her city awards. She has amazing gifts of vision and know-how to turn a typical backyard into a magical wonderland of color, design and function.
I’m really just a dabbler, far from a serious gardener. But the older I get, the more I enjoy gardening.
It’s a nice combination of nurturing, planning, creativity, hard work and natural elements. When I work in the garden – pruning, planting, fertilizing, weeding – my mind always wanders to analogies of life, faith and parenting. And I don’t even mind pulling the weeds since it provides instant results. Refreshing in this season of parenthood. It’s the best therapy for a multitasker like me.
It’s fun to garden together as a family and the kids really get into it. TJ does the heavy lifting and anything involving power tools. He also likes to pick-up the free compost from the local water plant. The key word being free. Jack likes to dig holes and plant the seeds. Sophia likes to plant the flowers, and pick them. Olivia likes to get in the middle of the action. And I do all the rest.
My garden style is kind of like the inside of my house – colorful, crowded and a bit messy. We have lots of roses, hydrangea, petunias, snapdragons, daisies and lavender.
But my favorite plant in our garden this year is a single carrot. Jack planted some carrot seeds on a whim back in January or February. He just grabbed an old packet of seeds and went at it. And this one, only one, survived and thrived.
This spring, along with colorful flats of annuals, we planted a lot of vegetables. Our vegetable gardens are on both sides of our house and include tomatoes, cucumber, squash, zucchini, green onions, carrots, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, corn and various herbs. Oh, and strawberries.
It’s always a gamble finding the right spot with the perfect amount of sun and sprinkler coverage. And the perfect spot one year does not guarantee perfect spotage the next year. So far, this year’s tomato plants are looking promising. I’m already craving toasted tomato sandwiches. Sadly, I think the critters are snacking on the lettuce and the zucchini growth is a bit sluggish. But it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m not on a mission to become fully sustainable on my little plot of land. I can gather a harvest of organic produce down the street at Trader Joe’s. It’s really the process I enjoy. And looking at this while I do the dishes.
And this little sweet pea, too.