This Time Of Year . . .

. . . one of the first things I do each morning is open my tiny bathroom window and look out at my little vegetable garden. On cold rainy days in May, like today, it is the best way to watch my garden grow.

Gardening is in my blood. I’ve done it most of my life. I think I caught the bug from my father who used to tell me, “Gardening is cheaper than going to a psychiatrist, and it’s a lot more fun.”

My first real memory of working the soil and planting things came the summer I turned 7 years old. That year we moved into a house with a large yard, and I remember Dad turning the soil with a spade getting the soil ready to plant. Then later I went with him to the local hardware store that had a large oak cabinet with many small drawers. Each drawer was filled with seeds, and as Dad selected what he wanted to plant, the store owner would remove a small quantity with a tiny scoop, carefully weigh the precious seeds, put them in an envelope and mark the outside to identify the content.

Beginning in early spring Mom and Dad worked the soil with hoes and rakes on weekends and in evenings when they were home from work. After making shallow furrows they sowed the seeds, marked the rows with sticks, and carefully covered the seeds with soil. It was then that I learned different varieties of vegetables were planted at different times. First lettuce and radishes, then peas, and later beans and corn. Not everything started from seeds. Tiny onions were put in the ground to turn into big onions. Old wrinkly potatoes were carefully cut into pieces making sure each one included one or two “eyes.” Those were planted to make more potatoes.

When the weather became a little warmer I remember going to the local nursery with Mom and Dad where the people who lived in a big farm house next to a green house helped them select plants that would be placed in the garden to grow and bear tomatoes and peppers.

That first year I was given a small section of the garden to plant and take care of myself. As I recall my little plot was not particularly productive because while I found planting fun, pulling weeds and giving my little plants the care needed to grow strong and produce was not nearly so enjoyable.

Mom and Dad had much greater success, and I remember the pleasure of eating fresh vegetables all summer long and having more left over that Mom canned and pickled and stored to continue providing delicious sustenance all winter long until once again spring came and the cycle started anew.

MyLittle Buddy Jordan . . .

. . . came over about a month ago and helped me plant tomatoes and jalapenos in my garden.

My Small Garden . . .

. . .  is only about 5′ x 6′ but in this space I grow an abundance of tomatoes, green peppers, jalepenos, onions, lettuce, radishes, okra, green beans, cilantro and chives.

Text and images all Copyright 2010 Dave Michael.  No portion of  this article may be reproduced in any form without written permission of the author.

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