Saturday, May 25, 2013

My garden: Why I love dirt on my hands

To me, planting a garden is one of the most hopeful and positive things you can do in life. You take something so tiny, put it in the dirt and have visions of food for your family.

You have to have faith that with sun, water, soil and time, it will grow. I always hold my breath. I'm new to gardening and had quite my share of troubles last year. This year already, one tomato plant I raised from seed broke in during transplanting and another was broken by hail.

Beyond that, whatever I did with my cucumber seeds wasn't right because they all washed back up in the rain and were sitting on top of the dirt. Sigh. That won't work.
I hoed two plots of dirt this year and have planted tomatoes, peppers, okra, carrots, cucumbers, strawberries and squash, as well as a couple of sunflowers and a plant given to Brady by his grandmother. It's a lot of work. More than I remembered. 

But the feel of earth on my hands, pressed into the lines and creases of my palm, clinging to my fingertips, brown and damp and sticky, I am connected to the wider world in a personal way that nothing else can achieve. I'm depending on the beautiful Earth to provide for me. And in turn, I hope to provide for it by living a life that is healthy for our planet, at least as much as I can. 

And now I wait and see. Who will make it? What setbacks will we encounter? What produce will do best this year? What will be our highs and lows as we root for these tiny plants, willing them to pull what they need from the ground and rise up straight and tall (except the squash and cucumbers, of course, they'll go (hopefully) running out to the side!)

Here is my garden plot a block away at my husband's grandma and grandpa's old place. In the background are rhubarbs planted who knows how long ago by his late grandmother. That they still come up every year and provide food for our family is such a sweet blessing. 

Here's one of my seedling tomatoes, planted at the plot down the hill from our house:

A little strawberry plant and below him a sunflower I raised from seed in the house! 

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