Hey guys. It’s been busy around the Gray residence the past several days. Our garden is beginning to take off, so that means we’ve been out there in the dirt!
Here’s what we started with April 20th … we sowed the whole thing, which you can’t tell here. We have several varieties of tomato and pepper plants, some broccoli and cabbage, beans and potatoes, squash, zucchini and cucumbers and a bit of lettuce and a rhubarb plant. Now, it was NOT my intention to plant so much stuff. As I said in another post, Mom got the gardening bug this year for the first time in a long time. She loves those green beans. I do too, but I hate picking them, so ever since Tommy and I started gardening on our own (without any input or advisory help from the family) we have put those “fences” up for the beans to grow on. It makes picking LOTS easier and keeps the beans cleaner, which in turn, keeps them healthier. Mom has always been uber picky about them though, telling us that we were picking them too soon. (she likes them FULL with huge beans…which most times leaves the green part too tough to even eat!) I’ll just tell you, we are gonna butt heads before this is over. Haha!
My intention was to not even put out beans. Last time we did, they were awful. Not even tender to begin with and way beyond too tough by the time they were mature enough to pick. We ended up just pulling them, vines and all, off the fence and giving them to the chickens. Putting up that fencing is WAY too much trouble for that. I just wasn’t in the mood to deal with it this year.
We haven’t planted for the past couple years because it was just such a small harvest for so much effort and then last year, with cycling so much, there’s no time to tend a big garden.
Anyway, so besides what amounts to four rows of beans (once we plant on each side of the two fences), Mom wanted four more rows. So there they are, already showing the signs of being planted without something to run up, browning leaves and dirt all over them. For some reason, it seems they just don’t do as well, at least for us, unless we plant them on the fences. (and like I said, even then if the weather’s not just right, they won’t be good either!)
If you hadn’t figured it out by now, I’m not really a gardener. Ha. I can get stuff to grow and I don’t mind planting, but I detest the maintenance. The weeding, hoeing, the bug-watching, the dusting and fertilizing. I hate that stuff. Tommy would wallow in the dirt out there all day if he had time and you let him. Whenever we are pulling weeds, I’m fussing about all the dirt getting on me and he’s down on his knees patting and pushing the dirt around the plants.
He LOVES it. It’s so funny…I don’t know how he has missed it all these years, but a couple weeks ago we were out there weeding and he says, “I love doing this, don’t you?” I just looked at him, mouth agape and hair sticking to my face in the sweat and dirt on it. “Um, nope. It is just about the least favorite thing to do ever.” He was flabbergasted! Yeah, my poor hubby is not the most intuitive fella.
So yeah, I have a love/hate relationship with gardening. I LOVE knowing what’s gone into my veggies, that no poison has been sprayed on them (that’s if I can keep my mom from putting Sevin all over them!) or tilled into the ground, but the whole process, beyond planting, I just hate! I hate harvesting too. Not as bad as weeding and hoeing, but almost. It’s just so much work and it’s all so rush-rush. With the way I’ve been so stinking low on energy lately, even more than usual, I just don’t know how much I’ll be able to handle this fall. But I’m not going to fret over that now. Maybe between now and then, I’ll have figured out what’s going on with me and feel a lot better. Lord, let it be so!
As for the “love” side of gardening, I wouldn’t have put out lettuce at all since we had such a poor experience with it last time. But Mom had bought some lettuce plants (I had sowed seed last time) and they are doing great! No bugs or anything, so I’ve been out there gathering some and making some amazing wilted lettuce with sauteed onions and peppers. YUMMO!! I will be glad when the squash and zucchini come in too because we love them as well and use them in just about every dish when we have them in the garden.
I’m gonna try to focus on this scripture from Hosea and maybe see if my attitude changes. I really think that I just dislike the garden because I’m not wired to love it, ya know?
My great aunt Lida was a gardening phenom. She LOVED working the soil and tending her plants. When Tommy and I first got married, we lived behind Aunt Lida in a little trailer for almost 5 years. Between the front of our trailer and the back of her house was her massive garden plot. She would be out there early in the morning before it got too hot and then sometimes again in late afternoon. She could work circles around any of the rest of us. And she knew EVERYTHING about growing things. I really miss her whenever we’re doing things like that.
Okay, I’m gonna shut it down now. Hopefully, in a few weeks, I can post some pictures of some amazing tomatoes and stuff for you. We shall see!
Unlike Monday, this Tuesday was good. I didn’t feel super, but good enough to work in the garden. We haven’t put one out in a couple years. The last times we have, we’ve done it all by ourselves. It seemed like no one else was in the mood for it. We’d get comments about how it was too much work, it was cheaper to buy from the store or we weren’t keeping it the way “you’re supposed to”. That just meant we were doing something different than the way they or previous generations did it. sigh As you might guess, we get those kinds of comments about pretty much everything we do!
Dad just doesn’t and didn’t want to fool with the garden at all.It seems Mom has been the one suddenly just dying to have a garden this year. Every time she’d send Dad down to the house with the tractor and plow, if Tommy was around he’d make at least one comment about it, letting us all know he was completely against the idea. Actually, last time he had Tommy’s ear bent for almost 45 minutes! ha ha
Anyway, so after dumping the chicken poops all over the garden for the past couple years and getting it worked into the ground, we have probably the best-looking dirt we’ve ever had! YAY! The ground here is very clay-heavy and has never grown anything, including grass (see that bald spot at the lower left of the photo? ‘ats what I’m sayin’!) We’ve brought in cow manure in years past so every year we try to enhance the soil somehow. But this year it is just more rich-looking and less hard/crusty/mud-rocky. We are hopeful to get a lot better results this year! After looking at the following photo, it doesn’t really appear to be the greatest soil, but it is dry so just trust me, that dirt is the best we’ve ever had to plant!
our garden, all ready to plant!
Tommy took off work because that’s the only way we’ve ever been able to get a garden out without working into the night and pulling out all sorts of lights, fighting shadows and all that craziness. Today however, we had Mom and my brother-in-law, Dale, helping us! Mom often has Dale help her with things and already had him lined up to help with planting on Wednesday though I’m not sure why since she hadn’t mentioned it to us, but ANYhow, she was able to suddenly change his plans (I’m laughing because Mom does that kinda thing SO often!) and we had help!
Mom has to be careful because she’s got some kind of weird spasm thing in her shoulders, so I had to keep her from overdoing. She will get herself completely down in the bed just from something like sweeping or chopping vegetables. She could help drop seed and cover plants though, so we were able to actually get the entire garden planted, including putting up our “bean fence” which is a little labor intense, but is the best way we’ve found to keep the beans clean and give them plenty of room to vine. We put out several varieties of tomatoes and peppers, some broccoli seedlings, 45 day cabbage, squash and zucchini, two kinds of potatoes, cucumbers, a rhubarb plant, green beans and even some romaine lettuce.
the garden, all planted and ready to grow! God bless it with increase, please!
Tommy and I were SO glad to have that done. We weren’t expecting to have help so what normally would have taken us at least two days went much faster! Mom was tired, but we finally got her to go home when we were down to just filling in the last empty area of the garden with beans.
She was insistent that we put out a ton of beans. I would normally not put any more than goes around our bean fence, which amounts to four rows, but she wanted more, so we have eight rows, four of which aren’t on any sort of support. I don’t like picking dirty beans. Well wait, I don’t like picking beans at all, but especially if I have to crawl around in the dirt. That’s why we go to the trouble of putting up that fence. It keeps them up off the ground and they’re much easier to pick! I could tell Mom thought it was just crazy for us to spend the time and labor to put up our fence. I’ll be curious to see how much trouble she thinks it was when she’s having to deal with her extra rows on the ground. ha ha
I am sore and really tired and “sun-kissed”…well, aggressively sun-kissed, but not burned, thank God! My hands, which tend to get random, weird (probably neuropathy-related) itching-blisters anyway got even more torn up, but at least not itching.
my poor, sad diabetic/gardener hands
I went in, took a shower to wash the grit off and sacked out! Poor Tommy had to go do some running for the Jeep project, so he ended up coming in quite a bit later.
We have sewn the seed, now for God to send the right amounts of sun and rain and deliver the increase! Let it be so, we pray!
Blessings to you!