Wednesday, September 7, 2011

a child's garden

I planted my first garden as an adult this year. It made me feel like a child. I was SO excited to choose the types of veggies I would plant. I could hardly wait to plant and weed and water! 
I visited stores and would always browse the seed section. I read about the types of plants that grow well in the area, how far apart to plant everything, when to plant them. It finally came time to dig up the garden. Friends who own a local organic farm came over, friends with shovels came over. It took about a half an hour to dig up our modestly sized patch of dirt. We saved the grass we took up for another section of the yard (which makes me curious about our small sodding project). We measured and built a frame for the garden. (Being at the highest natural part of Albany gives our back yard a very curious slope.) And now…. Time to plant!

Radish! Spinach! Beans! Peas! Onions (from our lovely farmer friends)! Carrots! Summer Squash! Red Peppers! What a salad this would all make!! I could hardly wait.
The garden was watered daily. I would look out from my bedroom window every morning, squinting my eyes for signs of green. Every day after work I would change my shoes and walk out to check. Bending down to examine the dirt for the slightest sign of life. Then finally….. One day after work it was like it all took off! Radish is up! Carrots! The summer squash!
Radishes (which are very popular in a child’s garden… surprise. surprise.) were my pride and joy. They were so quick to grow and pop out of the ground. Daily, I would run out after work and pick what was ready. Green beans were growing and harvested and enjoyed. The banana pepper plant I had retrieved and revived from a co worker gave quite a kick to a salad I had made one afternoon. I was so proud of the garden!

Then one day…. The spinach was not looking good. The peas were tumbling over and brown. The peppers were not growing. Though we watered and cared, it didn’t look like it was enough. The hot summer sun was just too much for them, and for me. Retreating into the air conditioning I felt sad for the veggies I had dreamed of turning into a lush green dinner.  The child in me again, pouted for a bit. More pouting came when the very gorgeous summer squash plants only produced one small zucchini. Which I then left too long, hoping it would grow large, only to have it get smushy.
Finally, I dug up the onions. Picked another few radishes, dug up a few carrots (a bit prematurely). Took another harvest of green beans from the slightly sickly plants. Washed and beamed with pride.
It’s Italian week at my house. All of the onions have been eaten and it’s only Wednesday. A carrot went into sauce. Beans were munched on. Even though only 50% of the seeds planted produced any type of edible food, I would call my first garden a success. I truly enjoyed the excitement and even the disappointments. The food that was harvested was delicious and even  though no money was saved, I feel richer now that it's done.

Next year garden, just you wait.

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