Part of me feels like keeping a garden is an homage to my rugged agricultural forebears for whom every crop was a life-or-death crap shoot. I can imagine my grandpa looking up at the hot summer sky over Northeastern Montana and wondering if his wheat would get dusted out and if it did how he would be able to afford seed for the next years' crop. I get that look in my eye sometimes too, when I'm stressing over the future of my 100 square feet of arable land.
|The back 40. Not pictured: one more 6'x2' bed. The white building is our garage|
A lot of genuinely cool things have come of having a garden though. We've been eating tons of leafy greens for the last several months, which we would have done a lot less of had they not been so close and free (sort of). The kids love grazing on raw chard, spinach, mustard greens, and peas right out of the garden. They're not always quite as excited as I had hoped they would be about weeding and watering, but it's definitely a regular part of their day-to-day experiences, like feeding the dog and the fishes. We collect rainwater and the water that comes out of the shower while we're waiting for it to heat up, and that's been enough to irrigate our crops, so the girls are growing up to be good SoCal water misers.
Last weekend, we had to pull up some of the greens and root vegetables we had grown so we could make room for tomatoes.
|Every bit as good as Shrute Farms beets|
|Kholrabi, which my wife chopped up and pickled, Vietnamese style|
|We'll keep the peas going for as long as we can|
Then I got to work preparing the soil for the tomatoes and herbs I was going to plant. This preparation included mixing in the worm castings (poop) that we collect in our worm composting bin. It looks like this:
So naturally, I had to do this:
|As far as I know, the kids did not eat any worm poop|
And then, as I was talking with the kids about planting tomatoes, I got all reflective and sentimental and crap about how they had grown since the last time we planted tomatoes, and how the gardening cycle would become a tradition, a marker of the passing of years, and a lasting memory for all of us, yadda yadda yadda.
Here's the conversation I had with Butterbean about gardening, or more precisely, what one should wear while gardening:
This is a conversation we had about a year and a half ago:
Here's some video from last year's tomato odyssey: