The weather has been totally goofy here lately. Even today, with a frost advisory this morning and 87 targeted for tomorrow, this is not really like May in the Carolinas.
That weird weather, along with a busier-than-usual spring schedule, has knocked my garden plans way off track.
We have a good-sized yard, but with old, tall trees, it's much too shady for a typical garden, so a few years ago my husband built me three tiered raised beds beside the carport. It's the sunniest place in the yard, it's out of the way, and it's easily accessible to water, making care of it simpler than anywhere else we could put it.
Each year we take a day and plant it, usually long before this.
This year, Saturday was the day. I bought several bags of soil and fertilizer in an attempt to strengthen the soil. While I'm thankful for my garden, the small space does not allow for much crop rotation or for lying fallow.
The best part of this was that everyone joined in to help. The kids quickly kicked off their shoes and climbed in, taking turns to dig holes and mix up the old and new soil. They happily dug holes and planted vegetables and herbs, relocated found earthworms to new homes where they could "do the most good." Even my husband pulled old plants, removed old ties (I'm terrible about cleaning out the old stuff when cold weather hits - too depressing), and mixed in the new soil.
We were even able to plant onions for once. As a kid I remember Dad getting them at a hardware store downtown, but I've never seen them here, and so our garden has been without onions since I moved here. One of the Amish stores that we hit up last week had them for sale, however, and the kids pointed them out eagerly (which is funny since they don't like onions). We bought a bagful and used the antique rake to make the holes the same way that I used to do with my dad.
It was such a fun afternoon - outside in the sunshine, warm temperatures, muddy feet, everyone with their own set of garden implements, happily running around and helping and working together. It reminded me of being very small and helping my parents plant our garden. I love that my own children are so excited to help me now.
I think that spring is a time of hope, and even more so a garden. It's a time to dream - of new life, of ripening fruits and vegetables, of gifts given and shared, of healthy food to feed your family. It's a time of promise - before droughts or blights or bug infestations hit, when everything is new and alive and green.
The beginning of summer gardens in the springtime is my very favorite time of year. This was the very best - when we could all get muddy together.
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