Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Accidental Gardener

I have gardened for years. I enjoy it more at certain parts of the year (March, April, May) than I do at other parts of the year (namely August) but it is incomprehensible to me to think of not planting at least tomatoes and squash. And basil. And usually rosemary. These are things that are generally easy to grow (except for the squash which usually falls victim to the squash bugs pretty early in the season and infuriates me greatly) and I really love them fresh.

I also like playing in the dirt. There's something wonderful about knowing that the nasty clay soil you inherited is now much looser and better to grow things in. I love playing with the coffee grounds that I get from Starbucks, smooshing them into powder and spreading it in the dirt. I really love picking the produce, eating fresh tomatoes and fresh okra right in the garden while I'm picking. I love making spaghetti sauce and eating it or canning it for the dead of winter.

I do not like sweating or being bone-tired or pulling weeds in the summertime. And there is always a time when the garden gets away from me. I have come to accept this and attempt to merely put the date off later and later each year. This year it will be a struggle because I will be gone three weeks in June. And Friend Husband does not love gardening as I do.

So it was sunny today, for the first time since we got back from Florida. I've been digging the cold, rainy weather and wasn't thrilled about getting out in the heat and sun today. I did it anyway. I dug up rows and rows of catnip so I could plant tomatoes under their proper trellises. I replanted lots of catnip because, although Friend Husband does not love to garden, he does enjoy watching the bees flit around the garden. And he asked me to, so I thought I'd oblige him. Eventually I stopped replanting them and started planting the peppers and tomatoes.

I always put in a lot of tomatoes. I like to share the little ones with a lady at church. She's so very grateful for them. And Friend Husband likes them a lot too. I need some bigger ones to make fresh salsa and spaghetti sauce with. So I plant a lot of tomatoes. They don't seem subject to annihilation by the squash bugs so that's an added bonus.

Four long years ago we went to Texas for a family reunion. We stopped with our friends the Meltons on the way back home. Friend Tony showed me the joys of eating raw okra while standing out in the garden. I didn't pick enough okra last year to cook a mess of it but I sure did eat a lot of it raw while working out in the garden. Yum! He gave me a couple of pods which had gone to seed (or gone all hard and spiny I guess) and I brought them home. As is my wont, I left them in the car for a couple of years. Yes, years. Then I brought them inside and put them on the windowsill above my sink. At some point in the last couple of weeks, someone (David, I assume), snitched one and took it outside.

We have been getting a LOT of rain lately. Naturally, no one thought to bring the pod inside and it got soaked. And started opening it up. I was aggravated in a general way because that's what I do when something of mine gets spirited outside and ruined. I picked it up to throw it away and happened to look inside before I did so. To my great surprise and delight, the hard, impenetrable okra seeds were sending out tiny little sprouts!

This should not have delighted me as much as it did but I will share why it did. For one, I plant okra every year and not much of it ever comes up. As I said, I have enough come ripe at any given time so that I can eat it raw, but not enough to cook for the family. I somehow had the notion that, if I could see the seeds sprouting, that there would be a better chance that they would in fact survive to be grown okra-producing plants. Perhaps I kid myself, but it kept me happy. I was also delighted that I did not have to remember to soak the seeds ahead of time. Usually I run out to the garden with limited time and want to do something, like plant okra seeds, then realize that I forgot to soak them. Which puts me behind. This time, they were all ready for me. And lastly, it was wonderful to just be able to have something positive come out of something I thought was negative. A nice end to the day, I say.

1 comment:

Sandy said...


I am a homeschool mom as well! 5 kids here too! Great to find others on blogger with similar interests!

Glad I found you!