A Garden Tour

| 5/6/2010 1:49:13 PM

A photo of SMR SaiaLast year’s garden fundamentally changed me.

For one thing, it took the pleasure out of shopping for produce. We had such  bounty and for so many months. Potatoes freshly dug from the ground were far superior to any potato that I’d ever had before. I ate sweet potatoes from July until March. I was in constant supply of fresh greens, and my freezer stocked with green beans and squash lasted me for several months. Those big baskets burgeoning with colorful, fresh produce made me ambivalent about buying produce in a store on a good day. On bad days it made me feel downright resentful. Soon, I would tell myself. In a few more months, I’ll be able to get this stuff out of my own backyard. In the meantime, my obstinacy on this issue took its toll on my diet – and the snow and general low spirits took a toll on my exercise routine. By the time the weather started getting nice again this year I was feeling restless and impatient; sluggish and thick.

I started sticking seeds in the ground in early March – carrots, beets, spinach, peas – and I started planting flowers. I added compost and mulched. I laid down paths, a project that is still ongoing. I made teepee-shaped trellises out of bamboo stakes. By late March I had broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower seedlings installed. I planted turnips and kale; strawberries and spinach transplants (my spinach seeds just did not take); onions and leeks. I harvested my first salad from the garden on April 16; my first strawberry on April 23rd.

I write this post at the beginning of May, and already I can feel a great sense of satisfaction opening up inside of me and swelling like a balloon. As yet it is only part hope and part expectation, but these things are underpinned with a few years of experience, and a lot of preparation and effort. I feel kind of – well – normal again. And perhaps that’s the biggest change of all, that over the course of the last year, what is “normal” for me has been redefined.

I do not have the ability that some people have to manipulate the physical world. Anything that I try to make with my hands inevitably falls short of my imagination, my plans, and my expectations. My garden is what I’m starting to think of as a “working garden.” It’s no showplace – but it’s the best I’ve been able to do so far – and it works.

Everyday Veggies

There are a few parts of the garden with a variety of things planted that I will be going out to harvest from time to time as I need them. They are primarily herbs, beets, lettuces, carrots, turnips, spinach and kale. These are the areas where I have the biggest problem with weeds, and things just don’t look, well, pretty. But there is food forthcoming, so I’ll just do my best.

5/28/2010 7:22:43 PM

Beautiful job! Looks like things are coming right along this year!

5/17/2010 11:37:22 PM

Hi Shannon, Another awesome post! I really like seeing how other people do their gardens. I like your paths. I stuck a few flattish rocks into my garden bed this year, too, since last summer my back seemed to kill me everytime I got out there. Now I can reach stuff easier. I also really like that you're letting your daughter do whatever she wants--learning her own style and lessons. Thanks for the photos, too. Susan Close to the Earth in Alaska

S.M.R. Saia
5/13/2010 2:38:36 PM

Thanks Jane. We definitely keep an eye on the tick situation. And thanks for reading!

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