Well, today I finished turning the soil in the small part of our backyard where we are going to put a garden. It has taken me two weeks during my daughter’s naps and whenever I can find a spare second to flip over the soil using nothing but a shovel.
Although my parents had a garden for years when I was growing up, I never paid too much attention to it. The chore I hated most was pulling weeds from our garden. Not only was it a pain to pull the weeds, but I would also always see the most dreadful looking bugs while weeding. I would get so grossed out by the bugs that it makes me quiver even now just thinking about them. Yuck!
There are three things that I remember about our family garden. First, how hard my mom worked in it every day. She would be out on the hottest days of the humid Virginia summers, sweat pouring from her face, weeding and watering her garden. She would try to get my sisters and I excited about the food growing from the ground (dad and she certainly got excited about it), but we were never very impressed. Second, I remember being resentful that my family had a garden. There was only one other couple who had a garden in our entire neighborhood and they were retired. In the mind of a ten year old, a garden was definitely not a cool thing to have in your backyard. I never understood why we couldn’t just skip having a garden. I didn’t like vegetables anyways. Finally, I remember how hot the house always got when my mom was canning all the vegetables that she had grown. These are my most vivid garden memories, and they aren’t too helpful twenty years later when I am working up the courage to have my own garden.
It took twenty years (give or take a few) for me to see the value of my mom and dad’s hard work in their garden. So, my apologies Mom and Dad. My hat is off to you and I wish you lived in New York so you could give me some advice about when to plant things up here. I was originally going to put things in the ground a few weeks ago, but thanks to the advice of a very nice farmer at the farmer’s market, I’ve rescheduled most of my planting until after Memorial Day. It’s a very good thing I listened to her advice too because we’ve had snow since then!
I have to admit that I feel completely inadequate and unknowledgeable when it comes to gardening. We are the only family in our neighborhood with a garden (from what I can tell). I felt really foolish shoveling dirt in my backyard, particularly since I knew our neighbors could see what I was doing. I wonder if they think we are crazy? I wonder if they can tell that I have no idea what I am doing.
I’m not really counting on getting any food from our garden this time around. I know that is pessimistic of me, but, let me be brutally honest with you- I have NO idea what I am doing and I only know one other person in the entire state of New York who is also doing a garden right this season. I’m planning on asking a lot of questions at the farmer’s market this year.
I will say that I planted a few things in pots (so I can bring them in when it’s snowing in May in NY and then put them in the ground when there is no chance of snow left) and I was so excited to see little plants popping up. I made Ryan go and see them, but he did not seem that impressed. Here’s a list of what I’m hoping to grow: Green beans, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce/spinach, cabbage, and corn. I’d really like to grow potatoes and/or carrots, but I’m scared to grow them (probably because I can’t see what’s going on since they are underground how do you know they’re done, you know?). I’ve already planted a raspberry bush and a blackberry bush in the backyard, but they just look like sticks in the ground. I’m not very optimistic about them at all.
I guess my hope is that we’ll be able to have some fresh veggies for dinner this summer. I would be THRILLED if I could grow enough to store some for winter. It would be awesome, if my berries decided to grow because I’d really like to make some jam to go with my homemade yogurt. I’m pretty sure my garden will need some serious prayer this season. I’m so thankful that I know the creator of all of these plants so He can give me some divine insight into what I’m doing. For the record, I’m planning on buying a book about gardening and reading it over the summer/fall so I’ll be prepared for next summer’s garden. I’ve just been too busy digging up our backyard with my shovel to find a good book on gardening and read it. Until next time…