Tuesday, August 04, 2009

We can get that at Kroger, right?

Sean’s sister married into a family that knows how to work the land. Her mother-in-law has a garden. Her brother-in-law is a professional farmer. All her extended in-laws have gardens. And often Jill is called on to help shell peas or can peaches or make pickles. She did not come from a family of gardeners but has stepped up to the plate admirably, learning all about what grows when and how to make purple hull peas to please her husband who was raised on good Southern cooking.

After my experience today I can easily say she is a better woman than I.

I do not garden. I do not grow things. I am happy to have a yard full of grass and nothing else. Bushes, shrubs, perennials, annuals, flowers are all overrated in my book. I attribute this to the fact that I hate to be hot. When to you garden? In the summer. And how hot is it in Atlanta in the summer? Slightly cooler than Hell. Therefore, I did not garden. And I have not altered that stance since moving to the cooler climes of Michigan.

Rebecca wanted to plant a garden this spring. She has wanted a garden for several years. And for several years I have put her off by saying, “Mommy doesn’t garden.” But my Mom was here this spring and she helped Rebecca plant a garden. It is very small: one tomato plant, several cucumbers and lots of carrots. Even small gardens need care, however, and I was sure I’d be the one out there watering and weeding and feeding. Not so. Rebecca took complete responsibility and has watered and weeded without being asked. And we have enjoyed several yummy cucumbers and are looking forward to eating tomatoes and carrots soon.

There’s a friend at church who has quite a large plot with pumpkins and corn and tomatoes and peas and squash. I’ve asked her lots of questions about Rebecca’s garden; she’s the one who told me to pick the cucumbers before they get too big. Big = bitter. We came right home and picked the cukes; the bigger they were the worse they tasted. Faye has been an enormous help to me as I’ve tried to figure out this garden thing.

Sunday at church she invited us to help her pick peas and beans. Rebecca was so excited! We went Monday and Faye showed us around the garden, pointing out what’s what and explaining growing seasons for each vegetable. I got excited about growing our own food, and even thought to myself, “We should have a bigger garden next year!”

Then we spent about an hour picking peas and beans. All my gardening aspirations flew the coop – picking peas and beans is not easy. As a matter of fact, it’s really hard work. And Faye said she has to pick the veggies every other day or they rot on the vine/plant thing. (I obviously have more to learn.)

As I popped several Advils to soothe my aching back I decided the beans at Kroger are really, really yummy.

I already admired the way my sister-in-law helps her in-laws harvest their gardens. After experiencing a very small sense of how hard that work is I admire her even more. And I came home so, so thankful that Sean’s parents don’t garden.

Rebecca and my Mom planning the garden

Planting carrot seeds

Rebecca asked what the white tabs were for. "To write down the name of what you're planting." She named her tomato plant Mindy. She is an interesting child.