It is downright hilarious to me that I am all into gardening. It used to be me who would say with a big sigh, “And all they talk about is cooking and gardens…..” Those are definitely among the most boring of subjects, you know? ;) Now it’s a big part of my life, and while it doesn’t stir my soul (laugh, laugh), I am really, super excited about this garden project! In fact, when I go to Barnes and Noble, I check out the books on gardening!
Next to square foot gardening, I’m most interested in beautiful container gardens–especially the kind that combine edibles with flowers. There’s such an art to combining plants with their different growth heights, blooming seasons, colors, leaf sizes, and all. That part is one I really enjoy.
Coming back to my blog page, I was shocked to see how itty bitty the plants were in the last pictures. The gardens look quite different now. The pictures I’m posting today are 2-3 weeks old.
The plot way in the back will be our corn patch. I hope it will get enough sun. Because of the bank it gets some shade during the day. I keep thinking of how much fun it would be to introduce “my people” to FRESH sweet corn!!!!
We were late getting our corn in, I think. We have a grant for the garden. It is only given in the form of supplies on an as needed basis, so sometimes there are a few weeks of delay in getting things in. Hopefully that will not be too much of an issue by the end of the summer even though it feels like a big deal to me now.
When I first planted, I couldn’t believe 16 seeds per square foot would be enough. Now the spaces are well filled! I love that the weeds don’t have space to grow. I planted spinach and butter crunch, arugula, and romaine lettuce.
This was from the second harvest. I went on to cut more and fill a bowl three times this size! Last week there was at least as much. I was thrilled because it was enough to be significant for the kitchen. This garden is like a wink at the amount of food they need!
We’ve also been picking radishes, and the peas are just starting to ripen. (Do peas ripen?)
Oh, it’s so much fun to have the children gardening with me! The original plan was to rotate the grades from week to week. It has worked better for the teachers to have the fifth graders come out for the classes, and the younger ones water throughout the week. I like that I’m having the same children come out because it gives me a chance to build relationships with them (and remember their names. :) )
Last week when I went inside one of the boys asked me, “You gonna sign me up, Mama?”
“Sign you up for what?” I asked.
“For the garden. You sign me up, Mama?” he asked again
“She’s not your mama!” said another boy.
“Uh-huh! She’s my garden mama, aren’t you, Mama?”
“Sure I am,” I said and beamed at my buddy.
Another benefit for the same class coming out week after week is that they get to watch the seeds they planted sprout and grow! Ownership is something they know so scarcely. They have such fun digging in the soil (for the first time!) One of the boys declared within minutes he was going to grow up to be a farmer.
Not everyone is so thrilled about getting their hands dirty. Some of them were pretty resistant to the idea. This past week one of the girls wanted to help plant rather than water or cut lettuce. When she realized she’d need to dig in the dirt she nearly backed out of the job. Soon she was back saying, “I didn’t want to get my hands dirty, but I’m going to do it anyway because I said I would.” I was impressed!!! When we were nearly finished, I told her again that I think she’s a good worker because she does jobs even though she doesn’t like all of it. She didn’t really respond, but later when we were again working alone next to each other, she started telling me about the hard things her family’s going through, and how she’s dealing with it. Moments like that will make every tiring chore fade in comparison.
I snap pictures of the garden before the children come out, fully intending to take pictures of them working. THEN they come, and I don’t say come as in meander. No, maybe charge or gallop would be a better word picture. Soon ten or so people are swarming and asking questions and digging and picking and pulling, and I don’t think much about taking pictures anymore. :) Friday I will remember. I will.
Yesterday morning Steve and I both spent a couple hours at Home Depot picking up plants, soil, mulch, fertilizer, tomato cages, landscaping edging, blocks for a retaining wall, and more. It was quite fun collecting all the supplies and knowing we wouldn’t need to pay for them. ;) We did still need to make frugal choices because we want to spend the money wisely and to get the best we can for the least amount. :)
Steve also rented a tiller. He had brought the mission’s delivery truck so that he could take the load of blocks home. Zachary’s smile from the passenger window was pretty wide! The boys and I had a small break at home over naptime, then went back to the garden. We were determined to get the corn in since we’re so late and there were thunderstorms in the forecast. I got to the garden about the time Steve needed to leave to get the tiller back. He quickly helped me make rows since the gray clouds were rolling in.
I planted while Steve made more rows, and the sprinkles started. Zachary prayed. The rain held off a little. We kept going as fast as we could. As soon as the rows were finished, Steve and Zachary left. It started raining again, but was just sprinkling. I got it all planted and covered, and my feet muddied. :) It felt soooo good to barefoot in a garden again. I hadn’t thought about it, but I guess that’s one part of gardening you miss with square foot gardening.
I was planning to ask for suggestions for these beds. Yesterday I bought the plants for flowerbed 2, but I would still take suggestions for the longer bed. We’re going to build a retaining wall on the outside of the fence, then fill in with dirt to level off the space. After that I’ll hopefully be able to add trees and shrubs. I found out that our grant is specifically for plants that can be harvested by the children, so I’m hoping my dreams won’t get squashed. I’m thinking that I’d like to plant flowers they can cut and arrange as part of art ;), and maybe trade out dogwoods for peach trees. (??) I would love ideas. Most of it gets full sun, although the back part of it gets partial shade.
The plants I bought for beside the steps are all either green, blue, or white for a restful feel. I’m hoping to add more colors into the bigger bed.
A few pictures yet, of my little guys helping:
/\ Ian when we’re alone at the garden
\/ Ian when there are other people around. Since we moved, his stroller is his place of safety–his little place of home that goes with us anywhere in the city. He will sometimes go to the back of the van and ask for it. :)