We started our spring and summer garden seeds inside this year. We got the little containers, the heating pad, watering system, and grow lights. The kids and I planted beans, watermelon, tomato, cucumbers, flowers – all sorts of things inside, in March. While the outside temperatures were chilly, we kept our little seeds warm and the soil moist, in trays on the dresser in our guest bedroom.
In a matter of days, those seeds sprouted, to our simplistic joy and amazement. We watched our seeds grow, and we tended to them, though they didn’t need much besides water and light.
Water and Light.
When springtime arrived and the soil temperatures warmed, we planted our little children-sprouts outside in our garden beds. It’s better this way, planting plants that you started from seed – even seeds saved from last year’s garden – rather than purchasing plants at the store. We had so much invested in our little miracles. So we carefully transplanted the cucumbers, beans, flowers, tomatoes, watermelon, and we watched them grow. Some made it, and some did not.
Late-May came along and things were going well in the garden, but this was around the time I got called with the breast cancer news from The-Guy-I’ve-Never-Met, so our tending came to a halt. Our plants still got their sunlight and an occasional afternoon rain, but that’s about it. Cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, flowers, herbs and whatever else we planted began to appear and flourish, but so did the weeds.
And I had to let the garden go.
I’d check on things when I had the energy to get out of bed and be outside. I’d take my basket and fill it semi-full of vegetables and herbs. I’d pull a few weeds and flick a few beetles. I’d ask the kids to help, but our garden attention spans just weren’t the same. The okra grew so fast that the hard pods were inedible. Tomatoes rotted off the vines. Our flourishing basil croaked in the Georgia heat before I had a chance to think about making pesto that would last through the winter.
In these last days of August though, it’s finally not too hot to get lost out in our garden beds for half an hour. I have my energy back. The weeds take center stage, but there’s also a patch of black-eyed Susans, some fragrant rosemary, and a couple of misshapen watermelons.
And the weed-pulling begins as I make space for a fall garden.
Come spring, we’ll grow seeds indoors again. We’ll check on them each morning and marvel at their progress. And we’ll put them in the ground when the time is right, and give them water and light.
But today, I’ll pull weeds and sort through the mess. I’ll admire the huge carrots, the inedible okra, and the smell of the dying basil and rosemary with their brown edges. And I’ll sow seeds of spinach, collards, and cabbage, and see what the fall harvest brings.