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What My Garden Has Taught Me so far

Corn, Beans, and Squash – CBS

Early June

Planting a vegetable garden is an exercise in humility here in the Southwest where the growing season is short and the elements unrelenting in ferocity. Our city balances on the edge of a moderate drought zone and a severe drought zone, and so we try to only water early in the morning and late in the afternoon. We have plenty of sun but water is precious.

Weather easily morphs here with devastating quickness from a still blue-sky morning to an afternoon windstorm bearing hail that can pound delicate seedlings into the ground in minutes. 

Late June

On frustrating days, I cannot imagine trying to grow acres of vegetables for a living, and yet, at heart, I feel every inch a farmer as I hover over my emerging vegetables. Every day I check the weather upon rising to see if there’s hope of moisture and if so, how much. I walk the small plot my husband has lovingly laced with drip lines to make sure the tomatoes are getting their due, to check how the corn is holding up after yesterday’s wind and asking my basil shoots why they look so feeble this year?

Self-examination and reassessment are daily chores. Did I plant the beans too early or the peas too late? Are my lettuce seedlings getting enough water or perhaps too much? Are those indentations in the soil signs that the raccoons have found our plot so soon this season? Or have the rabbits sneaked under the rabbit-wire fence? And is that, oh no, bear scat I see in the grass next to the garden?

Bear scat

And then there is perseverance. Everyday calls for reassessment of what I’ve done before. Weed, fertilize, replant. But the greatest gift from the garden is one of hope. Motherhood is the only comparison I can think of when experiencing the sheer joy of watching the first bean seedlings pop out of the ground, unfurl, and shake off their seed pods. A new season has begun.

Snow Peas

It’s the end of June here and after our unusually dry beginning my seedling and sprouts finally seem to have taken hold and are ready to enter into their serious growth stage. The snow peas are ready to harvest and I’m waiting, watering and watching the rest.

 I hope your garden is doing well during this season of uncertainty, pandemic, and doubt. Keep up the necessary work. Planting one small seed, one small plant. Keep growing.

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