I just put my first seeds of the season in the ground. Beets, Swiss chard, sugar snap peas, spinach. Dave planted some leaf lettuce a few days ago, so we can look forward to that before long. I could eat a bowlful of all of it right now. Fresh garden fare sounds so good! Even though we only eat a few every year, my son and I also planted some radishes in memory of our good friend, Mr. Stamper. We always made sure he got the first of our radish crop. He would’ve loved to be out tooling around on his mower on a day like today.
I pulled weeds, dug thistles and transplanted some forgotten shoots of garlic and a few overlooked onions. The weather was perfect and I didn’t even ask for the kids’ help for the first couple of hours that I spent cleaning out raised beds. I let them play in the treehouse, love on the dogs and sing silly songs at the tops of their lungs. With three teenagers in the house, these days of childhood are fleeting. I want to soak it all in like my bare faced soaked in the warmth of today’s spring sun. I love these times with my family.
My brother told me he’d be eating asparagus out of his patch tomorrow. When I checked mine, I saw absolutely nothing that made me optimistic about our own harvest in the near future. This is a tally mark in his garden “win” column, which already puts me behind this season. I’m going to have to make up time and get the jump on him somewhere else. My rhubarb looks like it’ll be ready for a crisp later this week, but I don’t think my brother will count rhubarb as something worth harvesting.
Eventually, Dave called the girls over to help him dig trenches for more asparagus roots; they should be in and ready to plant in a week or two. I enlisted my son’s help in planting seeds and mulching between rows. We’re using hay from a rotten bale for mulch. We tried it last year and were pleased with the results. A little bit of extra work on the front end sure saves a lot of weeding and watering in the heat of the summer months. We learn something new every year. More often than not, our greatest lessons come from our failures. It’s nice to learn from a success from time to time.
Rain is in the forecast tomorrow—a lot of it, too. On top of all of the rain we got last week, I guess I may be mudding in the remainder of my spring crops later in the week. Maybe things will dry out by Wednesday or Thursday. Either way, the bug has bitten, and I am compelled to be working in the dirt.
I’ve had a rough several months. I’ve felt rubbed raw by life. Invisible. Vulnerable. Dispensable. There are a lot of reasons for this, some valid and some not so much. And, to be honest, life goes on. Today, out in the sunshine and the soil, I considered my purpose. I was reminded of the cycle of life and that there is work involved in living well. Even the smallest, most insignificant seed can flourish when fed well, watered faithfully and showered in light. That’s what I want to keep choosing for myself and for my family—the things that will help us flourish.