Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Garden

We planted a garden this year, our first in a while. We did a 4 x 8 raised bed, added some nutrient rich soil to some plain vanilla soil and planted mostly seeds along with a few plants. We purchased bean, carrot, zinnia and sunflower seeds. We bought basil, cilantro, green pepper, and tomato plants. We planted the cherry tomato seeds given to Buttons by her teachers. We added sugar snap pea plants given to us by friends. Buttons was ecstatic and we were out planting, watering, waiting and singing.

Well, we took a 10 day trip and came home to find that our garden had become a jungle. It was out of control. One tomato plant yielded dozens of tomatoes, the beans were happy, the cherry tomatoes were popping and the zinnias were giving the bees plenty of pollen. Then there were the sunflowers. They grew over our daughter, and then over our fence, then us and we were pretty certain we could write a story called "Buttons and the Sunflower Stalk". They were huge. Were they 12 feet? 14 feet? They were huge. The bees flocked to their sweet nectar, the birds found refuge in their stalks and the neighbors wondered what crazy stuff we added to our soil. We delighted in watching them grow and grow and grow.
We ate our beans with lemon and butter. We gobbled tomato sandwiches, tomato pie, sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper. We gave people our tomatoes. We made veggie sausage with onions and green peppers from our garden. We had fresh zinnias for our house and to share with others. We had a few snap peas and carrots to enjoy and we peppered our dishes with basil and cilantro.

We loved our garden.

Then it turned cooler and the sunflowers drooped and it was time to take them down. Summer had ended, school had started and Buttons received some difficult news. Her teacher from last year and one she would have had this year died along with her husband in a bad car accident while attending a funeral. We told Buttons on a sunny Saturday morning, took down the sunflowers and while harvesting the seeds we discussed her teacher, death, the color of the seeds and stink bugs. This garden was bountiful and gave us the chance to get into a deep and difficult discussion while keeping our hands busy. We will plant some of the seeds next year and we will give some of the seeds away. For her teacher, Ms. M, we will plant some purple hyacinth bulbs to remember her in the spring, a time for rebirth.

Garden, you gave us another reason to love the summer and a chance to get ready for the fall by tilling the garden and reminiscing about watching you grow. In the deep frosty winter we will make our plans for the first signs of spring by ordering some seeds. Thank you, garden.

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