Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All Things Green


On this gloomy, damp day, my spirits are lifted by gazing out the kitchen window, eyes resting on the family vegetable garden. There it sits, in all its rain soaked splendor, roots stretching down into the earth, thirsty seeds drinking up water, waiting for the sun to return and warm breezes to coax the green above to grow and grow and grow...

Our journey toward this dream realized began with... dirt. Last week, three yards of topsoil were dumped unceremoniously in our driveway. By week's end, thanks to the contribution of every family member, all of the soil was transported into our raised beds.

My son earned some extra dough in his pocket for hauling the vast majority of  topsoil up the hill, wheelbarrow load by wheelbarrow load, in the blazing sun. His arms ached from the four solid hours of manual labor, but he was rewarded with a deep tan and well muscled shoulders.
After amening the soil with rich, organic matter.... peat moss and worm castings, my friend, Melinda, and I enjoyed one of the highlights of gardening, the planting. Soon after school, Brie joined us for the fun of digging in the dirt.

Now, lo and behold, those piles of soil have transformed into a vegetable garden, soon to be overflowing with German Heirloom Tomatoes, Old World Italian Zucchini and Sugar Snap Peas, vining their way up the side beams.

We also planted seeds for carrots and fennel, and small seedlings of various lettuces, Mesclun mix, cauliflower, leeks, shallots, strawberries and three different kinds of peppers: orange, green and bright, yellow Habanero hot peppers.

In the front of our garden are herbs. Your Mediterranean marriage of Basil, Oregano, and Parsley, along with Lemon Thyme, English Thyme, Cinnamon Basil, Lemon Basil, Rosemary, Lavender, Cilantro and Chives. We finished off our edible menagerie with a rainbow of flowers... Zinnias, Nasturtiums, a Morning Glory, which will twirl around the entrance. Sunflowers along the back will nuzzle up to the tomatoes, and a couple of Scented Geraniums, whose leaves smell like something straight out of heaven, flank the doorway, greeting visitors with their fragrant beauty.

Several herbs and a few of the flowers we planted are natural insect repellents. We are hoping for the best... this is an organic garden, so we won't be using any pesticides, naturally, and will only use organic fertilizers, like worm castings and chicken manure. Luckily for us, we have plenty of the latter.

Outside of the garden, sulking in a lonely pot on our patio, is Spearmint. As most gardeners know all too well, mint does not play well with other plants, its roots choking the neighbors and overtaking a garden in short order. So, sitting in solitary confinement... I sort of feel sorry for the poor thing. I may buy some orange mint and peppermint to keep it company. Just to be nice.

This was a labor of love, to be sure, and we are looking forward to receiving its fruits throughout the next several months. Melinda will be a frequent guest of honor, hovering over her "babies."  The plants that we sowed into the soil, our energy infusing all things green with goodness and light, will bring us an abundance of nourishment this summer. We can hardly wait to fill our plates with scrumptious gifts from Mother Earth.

"The girls" and Bun Bun would love to partake of these gifts also... hence the pet fencing surrounding the garden, and the height of the beams, reaching seven feet, will keep Bambi and his mother, too, at bay. Sorry, furry and feathered friends... You're out of luck.

Maybe we'll share some of our leftovers, just maybe...
"Can you spare a carrot, or two, pretty please?"