How Green Is My Garden

One of my greatest pleasures this summer has been my vegetable garden. Of course, it helps tremendously that we are having one of the best growing seasons in history. But it is nonetheless true that I have wanted a vegetable garden for years. It is a source of great happiness and hours and hours of contented puttering not to mention a bumper crop of gorgeous tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and herbs.

Way back, b.c. (before children), I grew tomatos and was both happy and successful, but the joys of gardening went by the wayside with the rigors of childrearing. For the past years I have made plaintive gardening noises each winter and was met with Jim’s complete and utter unhappiness and disinterest. He didn’t want to have a garden stuck in the middle of the lawn. He thought it was too much work or, more likely, that he would be stuck with the work. There were many objections all adding up to “no.”

But this past winter the winds blew in another direction. In March we suffered the great wind–a huge spring storm which uprooted many trees, took out all our fences and destroyed the enormous flame bush which dominated our side yard. The flame bush seemed to be the key. We had to have the bush removed and the stump dug up leaving a very large circular spot smack in the middle of the side yard. We had to do something with the big open area and Jim felt ready for it to become a garden. Okay, then, let’s go!!

We rented a rototiller one late April day and spent a sweaty Saturday afternoon turning the soil and removing enormous amounts of roots from the now defunct flame bush. As we worked in the large open circle clearing and tilling, I had a vision for a circular garden with  tall sunflowers shooting up from the center life a giant yellow fountain and rows of vegetables radiating out form the center like spokes on a giant wheel. We installed green wire anti-rabbit fencing and in early May, Farmer Frost began to plant her crops.

At first it didn’t look like too much. Even less than this photo to the left because the baby tomato plants are already in the ground. Of course, the moment I planted the fragile little plants, we had gale force winds, but most survived. (Please note that my faithful walking assistant is doubling as a gardening assistant, you can see him in the background). The garden is divided into quadrants and nestled into the center are the sunflower seeds for which I have both greats hopes and tremendous excitement. I picture the sunflowers reaching for the sun and spraying yellow beams of color across the yard.

We live on a cul de sac and the garden is extremely prominent. Everyone who drives into the cul de sac must see the garden. Our neighbors were all curious as I began planting and they have continued their interest as the plants have flourished. This also includes the mailman, the Fedex guy, UPS and the pool man. I get lots of advice which I truly appreciate.

 The warm sun did its trick and the sunflowers broke ground. The lettuce stepped up in lovely variegated shades of green. As each section of the garden was planted, I mulched laying down newspaper and covering it with straw to hold the moisture in and keep the weed growth down. Heading out to my garden with clippers in hand, I can happily spend hours pruning the suckers off the tomato plants, taming the wild and crazy cucumber vines, clipping fragrant bits of herb and admiring those outstanding sunflowers. The lushness of the garden overwhelms me each time I see it. The bright red spots of ripe tomatoes and the yellow flowers draw every eye  and there is such bounty that I have sacks of vegetables for the neighbors, the mailman, friends and we still eat copious amounts of salad. Soon the swiss chard will be ready and in the fall I plan on lots of kale and winter vegetables to replace the summery lettuce.

I have learned through many years of knitting and crafting that I am most happy involved in process. The final output is nice, but my greatest pleasure is taken in the doing. This is true of my garden. I am very happy to eat the yield from my labor, but it is the labor itself which gives me greatest satisfaction.


One Comment to “How Green Is My Garden”

  1. Wow, that looks AMAZING! I live in a condo right now, so no gardening for me. But my mom loves to garden and I can’t wait to get started once we have a house. I love the sunflowers in the middle!

    I also have to say that I love this line from your post: ” I am most happy involved in process.” That sums up how I feel about so many different things in life. I think that enjoying the journey is far more important than enjoying the destination. If you wait until the end to celebrate, you miss out on so much!

    ~ Kristen

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