Ahhh…. Garden. What a lovely word. It’s no secret to anyone around me that I love to garden. And by garden, I mean I really try to grow food! Some years, I’ve had stellar success, others total flops. It never ceases to amaze me how much work and mystery the garden is to me. Many gardeners are experts…. They can tell you the nutrients needed to grow a stunning array of foods at the drop of a hat. Me? Well, I mostly toss seeds in the ground and pray a lot. I have no idea what my dirt to compost ratio is. I have never bought peat moss in my life. I’m flying by the seat of my pants…. but I like it that way.
Last year I took a break from gardening and had a wonderful experience raising two lovely bacon seeds from weaned stage to freezer. They lived a happy peaceful life in my garden space. This year, I knew I wanted veggies again immediately. As the snow melted, I longed to dig in the dirt. I might not know much about micro-nutrients of soil, but I know our previous struggles with too much “clay” and how our ground would dry and crack in the summer…. So, I decided I needed compost. Thousands and thousands of pounds of compost.
Our awesome children wanted to help – for about 30 minutes which is impressive – then I tackled most of the rest of the pile with a baby on my back.
Little by little the garden changed from this –
To this –
Once it was spread, we let it sit a week. It was a rainy spring week and I imagined my soil happily soaking up all the poo? Who knows, I was certainly thinking positive thoughts so that’s got to count for something! I knew I wanted it well mixed in with the clay dirt under it and enlisted my amazing husband for some help. We picked up a beefy rototiller and he knocked it out super fast!
Just an hour later, I let my hens run free and they enjoyed the fresh tilled access to bugs – Go get em ladies!!
Now the outside was “ready” for plants, I realized with sudden panic that I hadn’t started seeds. Not only had I not started seeds, but I was fairly certain I threw away my seeds during the kitchen remodel mess of last year. Not to toot my own horn, but I am a genius of epic proportion at starting a project and realizing in the middle I need more items to complete said project! Anyone else?
After a 10 pm trip to Walmart and a “I don’t really know what I want to plant, just toss it in the cart and see if it grows” kind of purchasing of seeds, I was ready to plant some seeds with my lovely kiddos. They were SO excited. Part of my fondness for gardening is the drive to cultivate connections with each other as much as cultivate the land. Dirt is a great tool for kids to create all sorts of fun memories in. Getting dirty doesn’t scare me a bit! Armed with my many helpers, we made light work of planting seeds!
I’m so incredibly excited to see what grows. We’re trying cucumbers for the first time and going back to our favorite varieties of corn and sunflower seeds (direct sow outside). Hopefully it’s a great year for a garden. This is also the very first time in my life I’ve attempted to start flowers from seed (or grow them at all really). I count sunflowers as a veggie because of the amazing edible seeds enjoyed by all!
What are you growing this year my friends? I would love to hear what you are most excited to see sprout in your yard?