The Garden

When granddaughter N lived here for a couple of years, she liked helping me in my garden (so did her big brother). When both of them were working, I had to make sure everyone was spread safely apart because garden tools were sometimes dangerously wielded as they hacked at weeds. They moved to a nearby town into a beautiful home with a yard, not a flat city yard, her neighborhood is noted for steep driveways and heavily sloped yards. Late last spring, N said she wanted a garden and her Mom didn’t know where to begin. One Saturday, I joined them in the morning and we set out to get a couple of raised bed boxes, lots of cardboard, garden box bagged soil, seedlings, and seeds. I had taken some low plastic erosion fence and step in poles. We dug away sod to level, laid the cardboard, assembled the boxes, filled them, and mulched around them. Put up the “fence” and planted her boxes. The boxes are close to the neighbor’s fence and they have a little garden on their side of the fence. This was a good and a bad thing, it meant fewer weeds along the fence line, but it is a 4 generation Asian family and grandmom whose garden it was, doesn’t speak English. She took it upon herself to water N’s garden every time she watered her own and N’s garden was saturated, which didn’t help. One day when I was staying with the kids, I tried to let grandmom know that we didn’t need her help watering. I don’t know if I succeeded.

About the time her beans sprouted, something dug up most of one box and something feasted on young pepper and tomato plants, so it wasn’t a great success, but she did end up harvesting a few tomatoes and peppers before the season was out. This didn’t deter her or dampen her desire to garden at all. About a week ago, I got a request to help plan this year’s garden. She is now 8 years old and quite a good reader, so this week I have contributed to her lessons with emails that she has to read aloud to her Mom and then write me back with questions and what she wants to plant. She decided she wanted to expand her garden to a third box and plant some early spring veggies this year. She and her Mom stripped the sod uphill from the first two boxes, built a new box, filled it, and mulched around it yesterday. Then she sent me her wish list.

I had already sent a list to daughter with instructions on a better, more secure fence arrangement and she ordered the supplies to be delivered today. Last night, I designed N’s 3 garden boxes to accommodate her plant wishes and put planting dates by each type of plant. I suggested to daughter that she buy seedlings on as many of the plants as she could, though not the cheapest option, it will guarantee better success and enough quick germinating plants were included that planting those seeds will allow N to have the full experience. I love that she wants her own garden. I hate that I can’t be with her to do it this year, but it has been fun helping her plan. It is contact I miss so much with this social isolation. Daughter has been terrific about sending pictures nearly every day of lessons and projects and it helps.

I wish my garden area was that neat. My celery experiment is growing nicely. I had two celery hearts that were getting soft, so I chopped the celery and froze it for cooking and stuck the ends in a shallow dish of water in a sunny window for about a week or 10 days. When the centers were showing signs of growth, I stuck the two in a clay pot of potting soil and put them in the sun. It will be interesting to see the end result.

The Asian Pear trees are in full bloom and there is no indication of frost in the next 10 days so I am hopeful for fruit. The apples are beginning to leaf out, though I have seen no blooms there.

Today is another sunny day, though cooler than the past two near record breaking days, but yesterday and today, the wind is howling. If I can secure my long hair so it doesn’t whip my face too bad, I will do some weeding in my garden today and maybe try to move some compost into the newly rebuilt boxes.