Last year we tried to grow some things, just a little rectangular patch in the back yard, along the privacy fence ‘cause it’s the sunniest spot. Broccoli thrived, except in the hottest months, one plant even outlasted our mostly temperate winter. The carrots were a bust, lots of greenery on top, nothing going on down below. Sound familiar? Tomatoes were in large pots and did well at first but then struggled. After replanting them in the ground they made a brief comeback. I picked all the green ones before the first frost, and they definitely reddened up inside a brown paper bag.
The surprise of the season, was the small almost dead cantaloupe plant, Bill brought home from a farmer’s market. It took to the hottest part of the summer like Madison took to the taste of melon. Yes, we did enjoy one. But the second one was nudged off the counter and all I found were spatters of juice, seeds and a small piece of rind. She got even more assertive and started eating tomatoes of the vines, and popping the cantaloupes in the grass before we could pick them. Hmmm, lessons to be learned from our first effort.
This year we got an Aero-garden. Have you seen one, it’s the contraption with lights, a frame, and running water? We decided to get some heirloom seeds off the internet and grow our own plants. It was great to watch, within days the sprouts would start their rise out of the moist sponges that sat in the frame. We slowly would raise the arm that held the lights and add water and nutrients to the base. Spring was chilly. The plants couldn’t stay in the Aero-garden and we wanted to make room for other seeds. Four weeks ago we bought soils and nutrients and sat on the back porch planting the delicate seedlings. There was dirt everywhere and it wasn’t just me being messy. The girls, Madison and her best buddy Dixie, had to stick their noses in everywhere. They are basically just like two toddlers, curious about everything, smell, touch, and into the mouth, how else do you explore your world?
If my parents had asked me to help in the garden growing up, the answer would have been resoundingly NO. Recently, as an adult, I have been finding it soothing, to have dirt under my nails, smudges on my pants, and the smell of soil in my nose. Watered, potted, I babied the plants at first, bringing them in at night, it was still unseasonable chilly in March. And to my surprise, they took, the roots didn’t die. I continued to water, waited, and finally the sun came out to help them grow.
Maybe this weekend, after we turn over the soil and mix in some healthy fresh black stuff, we will think about putting the thriving plants in the ground…but will the soil be warm enough? It’s going to be a bigger space this year, we learned some, but there’s always more to experience. I know we should check the farmer’s almanac or internet. Actually my bigger concern is the 17 year cicadas, will they destroy all that we have done in one 24 hour period? To plant or wait, that is a question. The bigger question that looms over us, is will Madison share any of the bounty with us?