Monday, April 12

Our little slice of green (and yellow. and red.)

When I was growing up, one of the highlights of visiting my Papoo and Granny Tess in Chattanooga, Tennessee was heading down to their wide-and-long garden to pick veggies. On the way back up the hill we'd stop and sit and eat some still-warm tomatoes and let the juice dribble down our chins. My Papoo was a fantastic gardener, he could coax any plant into being, just with his love alone. Granny Tess would sing a song about Huckleberry huntin' to her flowers- azaleas, jasmine, a gargantuan gardenia bush- and they would bloom right before our eyes. (Or, at least they seemed to. There was no end to what an 8 year old believed her grandparents could do.)

My own Daddy (Papoo was his father) was an avid gardener. He was an old school gardener, refused to use pesticides other than diatomaceous earth. He nurtured seeds into seedlings, and then planted them one by one into the ground he'd cultivated. He planted everything; beans, potatoes, corn, asparagus, tomatoes, okra, lettuce, strawberries, watermelon, pumpkins. He had apple and pear trees, he had blackberry brambles and blueberry patches. Long before I was born, he even kept several beehives. Seed catalogs and The Farmer's Almanac were on my daddy's nightstand perpetually, bookmarked and dog-eared the way other people's Bibles are.

Gardening is in my blood. There are traits that, no matter what science may say, I know run in my DNA as part of my paternal heritage: stubbornness, growing things, photography, alcoholism. (Thankfully, I've outrun the last one.) There are gifts I've been given through my maternal bloodline too: love of music, pack-rat syndrome, creativity, and a strong aversion to bad grammar.

But starting something from a tiny seed, nourishing it, lavishing it with love and attention, and then seeing the results of your hard work (and the Lord's brilliant mechanics) is something that strikes me as profound, no matter its common occurence.
(See: pregnancies, my three)

So here we are in Spring. One week post-Easter, the season of new life. Because of a combination of several things (my new book club's reading of Barbara Kingsolver's book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; my decision to homeschool Bryton next year- and give him hands-on teaching assignments; my friends who are such advocates of CSAs and better living; some part of me wanting to reconnect with some part of my often-volatile-but-peaceful-in-the-garden father) I decided we needed a garden.

Jeremy nixed the idea of my tilling the ground at the back of our yard to put in a patch of corn. He wasn't too keen on me tearing up our backyard in a futile attempt at a victory garden. But, he did say he would help me plant a 3' x 3' (generous, no?) plot of land; if I promised not to let it be another back-burner hobby.

So I decided we should plant small, potted things first, to see how well we kept them alive. (While gardening may be in my DNA, it may very well be a mutated gene- since I can't even seem to keep kudzu living long enough to spread.)

So, for $20 I got everything we needed for a few small "container gardens." (My friend Kerri had the same idea I had. And it seems neither of us have much faith in the eventual outcomes.)

Every single thing I bought came from the $1 bins at my friendly neighborhood Target store. Garden tools, tin cans, seed packets, teensy little terra cotta pot, even the soil pods... all of it just a dollar each.

Today Pooter woke up with a fever, and by this afternoon we were all making each other crazy. I decided it was time to plant our mini-gardens.

(There is only one mid-planting picture because, you know, DIRT! and WATER! and KIDS! aren't really conducive to one-parent-only photo ops.)

All in all we planted parsley, basil, chives and oregano, Moneymaker tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, green bell peppers, and a wee pot o' sunflowers.

If these make it past a week, it'll be one of God's Great Miracles.

I have no immediate big plans (yet) of a growing-to-eat garden, but I'd like to have one in the future.

I wonder how much a quarter-acre cash crop of rice or soybeans would bring me?



  1. This is so awesome!!!! And I did not know you were going to homeschool next year!!! I love it! (And want to hear about it!!)

  2. Do you remember when we used to play in my parents' garden and build forts out of tomato cages? Good times. Gardens are great fun for kids.

  3. That is all TOO CUTE. We love us some dollar bins at Target...

    As for me, there are actual tomato and pepper plants on my front porch - but no garden yet to put them in! Guess I better get to work.

  4. Yuuuummmmmyyyyy!

    I'm hoping we get some things planted soon!


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