A garden dies once a year and as the nights are now creeping into the fifties death is in the air. The tomato vines are beginning to brown and sag. The peas are now withered and yellow. The strawberries are tucked into their bed until next year. The peppers will hold out for another week or so but are beginning to blush a deep red.
Truth be told, it wasn’t a great year for the garden. I think the soil is pretty exhausted and needs an overhaul, but the girls (and Dash) thoroughly enjoyed it. It became a ritual to check the garden everyday when we returned home from day care and pick some things to bring in for dinner. Most things rarely made it that far. Ally was quite content to graze the rows popping in little cherry tomatoes, sucking out the jelly and seeds than spitting the skins out. She became alarmingly proficient, quickly stripping a plant faster than a hornworm, but that’s sort of the point to all this, so I had to learn to shrug and move on. Luckily, she can’t fit the heirlooms in her mouth.
It almost didn’t happen this year, but two months later than usual, we did finally manage a free Saturday afternoon (the birthday party circuit was brutal this year) to get the snap peas planted, along with (too many) tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, lettuces and herbs.
Five seems to be the right age if you are really looking for help. Cecilia had the routine down pat this year and had the fine motor skills to do an entire, straight row this year all by herself.
Of course her little shadow thought this was a great game. Let’s crawl through the big sandbox and hide these tasty snacks! A great way to spend an afternoon after a long nap. Peas ended up side by side with peppers. Snug up besides the basil and sharing fertilizer with the tomatoes. A Jackson Pollock veggie garden.
My dream of arrow-straight, manicured rows of crops will have to wait another year. I don’t mind.
As I look out the window the peas are thigh high, climbing the trellis and starting to flower so this is long overdue, but for those of you wondering, Cecilia and I had Pea Day III in early April (a few weeks late but it was a chilly spring) and planted our spring crop of sugar snap peas in the garden.
With each passing year, we get closer to actually planting straight rows! This year Cecilia was very keen on checking for worms and giving the peas their dinner (water) and a comfy bed (nicely raked).
Two months later and so far, so good. Peas have sprouted relatively close to the trellis. Rabbits have yet to find them and Dash seems satisfied to let them be (why waste time with peas when delicious strawberries are just a few feet away). Couldn’t ask for much more.
Notice the excellent garden fashion sense
Raked, planted, watered. Check!
Seriously ready to chase some birds away
Spring has sprung with a full throated fury this past week. Forty degrees to sixty-five. Sort of like a Ce tantrum when we happen to suggest maybe four straight hours at the playground is enough. Smiling to screaming in 1.2 seconds. Two weeks ago, Chelle and I were drawing straws over who had to stomach another trip to the local Marshall’s to kill an afternoon. Now at least we are able to unleash the little beast outside to burn off that toddler energy. Forget green tech, someone needs to invest in how to harness toddler energy reserves. It’s truly awe inspiring.
So other than allowing us to put Ce out to pasture during the day, spring also means it’s the start of gardening season in New England. Last week, Ce and I planted the first wave of spring plants: snap peas, lettuce, spinach and radishes.
One advantage to Ce being in a pre-school dominated by boys is that she is not afraid of dirt. Saying poopy at the table with dinner guests. Not so much.
At first I thought it was a squirrel with a sophisticated palette. Then I caught her red handed! At least she only picks the ripe ones.