Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Enough: Little by little gardening

It's the time of year when I'm itching to get out into my garden and get stuff planted, even though I know I have more than a month before our "last day of frost." But all those "as soon as the ground can be worked," cold weather veggies? It's time. The past few years, pregnancy and little babies with short attention spans or quick legs moving toward the road and brick steps they can't climb, have made my gardening goals more modest. My dreams are still big, but my expectations are low. I work a small bit of ground at a time, say enough of a patch to do a first planting of lettuce. Little by little, piece by piece, my garden comes together, and most things get in on time, and the things that don't I pick up at the farmer's market.

Right now, I work in the afternoons while Elizabeth naps and Kathleen works on her castle, an intricate stack of bricks and soil and sticks that started last summer when Brian was digging out an old, choked flower bed in preparation for planting hops this year. Her castle has occupied her and one of our neighbor friends for countless afternoons. I'm not crazy about its location between the rhubarb and this year's tomato patch, especially with the ever bigger moat that they dig on one side, but I'm letting it be for now. Kathleen is big enough to work on her castle or on her alligator dam (a pile of sticks between a small stone wall and a downed tree) while I'm in the upper garden. Sometimes she comes to help me, but more often than not, she's quite busy with her own gloves and tools in her own little projects.

So as much as I want to get out there when the sun shines and the temps pop up into the 60s and 70s, I work with the time I have, and sometimes I just sit because that feels good too. It's April 9 and I have lettuce and spinach and arugula and beets in the ground, not to mention more lettuce and broccoli, kale, bok choi, and flowers started in my milk jugs. It's good enough, and maybe just a little bit more.


  1. Kathleen's castle sounds like exactly the sort of thing that can fascinate a child for a very long time, and reminds me of many happy days spent building houses for smurfs in my (very patient) mother's flowerbeds.

    The image of you gardening while Kathleen plays makes me smile. We are growing a few veggies this year, too - cucumbers, lettuce, peppers, beans. And (hopefully) lots of sunflowers.

  2. I grew up with a lot more woods around me and there was a lot of place to dig and build and climb. I realize I want to encourage that for her in the space (and really there is plenty of it) we have.

    Hope your garden grows well. Squirrels got all my sunflower seeds before they could grow last year, but we're trying again this year. Kathleen likes the orange and yellow ones. She was, however, in the minority in the voting for her class garden, so we got some to try at home.

  3. I just read your last few posts and realized how much I've missed your writing. You made me miss winters and that yearning for spring, and all that space for gardening. Have you read 6512 and Growing? I think you might enjoy that blog...

    1. Mary, nice to see you again! I do read 6512 and Growing (and I wish Rachel lived closer because I'd hire right away for a garden consult). I "discovered" Rachel as part of Kate Hopper's online book tour and I've been reading her ever since.