Monday, March 11, 2013

The family garden

Only the second full week in March, and we have veggies started from seed! I have never been this organized and on schedule with a garden. Usually March is spent daydreaming about an enormous, carefree plot of veggies. Then the frost free date hits in April, and I grab anything that looks edible from the garden supply store. Seeds are thrown in pell mell, a month too late. Veggies bolt a week after I plant them. Weeds and poor soil plague the season. And I scratch my head.

But this year, I must be on top of the garden for two 'get it done' reasons:

1 Little man is due in the beginning of July - I can't afford to be fighting failing tomato plants in the heat of the summer. Everything needs to be in place and thriving {or composting} when I leave for the hospital.

2 Hubby joined the gardening team - And when my man decides something needs to get done, and that something is on a time table {e.g. must be complete before I go nesting crazy and forget to feed my family satisfying my obsession with miniature knitwear}, the work gets done. He located and cut up pallets, then built four planters, two raised beds, and a cold frame, and moved all the dirt to fill them this week. I couldn't be that productive if someone held a gun to my head {because small one would still be climbing up my leg yelling, 'I poop!', big one would still be crying about dirt in her hair, and Abby superdog would still be digging through the compost bin}. I'm so grateful for my home improvement project ringer.
The 'getting it done' was possible and organized, the shopping trips had purpose and a basic list because I started a gardening journal. Nothing fancy - 4 dated columns per page. Some weeks read: rained all week. I'm so tired of puddles. Other weeks, like this one, I'm creating indecipherable abbreviations to squeeze our gardening efforts into the allotted space.

The girls have jumped into this with 20 filthy fingernails. Last year, they discovered the Christmas morning joy of tearing into seed packets. During this year's trip to the nursery, they were rabid wildly enthusiastic among the envelopes of possibility. I plant purple carrots, Mommy? I want strawberries. Can we plant purple onions? What about purple potatoes? Purple garlic? Purple beets? Purple tomatoes? Purple peppers? {notice a theme - I had no idea so many veggies came in purple. Why hasn't the grocery produce department picked up on this??}

 We snatched up carefully chose heirloom seed packets with purple produce {and green and yellow and red} and wildly scattered thoughtfully laid out rows of root veggies and cold loving leafy greens, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries. Every day, the girls beg to add something new to the garden. DH keeps building planters, so Momma keeps tearing into seed packets, spreading vegetating joy.

Better than any produce we might harvest or science lessons I might teach, I love the family involvement in the production. The garden has been a little red hen project for me in the past, in part because I didn't involve anyone else. 'Help' is much messier. Accountability much more pressurizing.

We all have a stake in the garden this year, not just what we eat from it, but the shared dirt under 40 fingernails {I should probably count Abby's 16 toenails too}. The mess is shared. The pressure to produce is spread. Come July, this momma can sit comfortably cuddling a newborn in the central air, while someone else carries in tomatoes, peppers and zucchini for dinner. I should have shared the garden earlier.

An easy gardening project: clear row markers
You need scissors, a plastic clamshell and a sharpie. Cut the clamshell into strips and write the crop with a sharpie. Insert at end of row. The clear plastic doesn't block the sun while the plants are growing.

Happy gardening!

For garden journal resources, check here or here.

If you don't have a local nursery with heirloom seeds, check here.

For raised bed info, check this book out.

1 comment:

  1. P.S. I just caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and I look like a momma who has spent the last week gardening and taking care of sick kids. In serious need of makeup and a blow dryer.


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