The Little Garden
I come from a long line of farmers, so I usually plant a garden. On occasion it has been fairly large and produced enough to round out our meals with fresh veggies through the summer and supply us with canned or frozen veggies in the winter. Other times, when we lived in places where there was little room for a true garden, we planted a few tomatoes in our flowerbeds.
The year I returned from Kosovo, my mother had tomatoes planted near my deck for me to enjoy all summer. And I did. I picked a handful of those little “tommy toe” tomatoes every time I made a salad.
Because the new house where I live didn’t have good soil, my cousin found a couple of old bales of hay for me the next year and I planted my small garden in them.
During the pandemic, I planted a few tomato plants from seed inside and put them out in my makeshift garden when the weather was nice. I cut up some potatoes that had started to sprout, planted those and enjoyed several meals featuring potato dishes that summer and fall.
My garden hasn’t always been big, but it always brings me joy and a bit of good food.
Then 2022 came. I had a very busy summer planned. I was attending a major writing conference in Illinois in June. I wanted to finish the book I started crafting before the conference. A garden would have to wait. I wrote furiously during those early spring days.
I made a stir fry meal one night and saved the seeds I cleaned out from the peppers.
I came across a few tomato plants on sale at Jungle Jim’s so I scratched out a small area and planted them. It was a start. Of course some critter bit one off. I’ve never had that happen before, but I babied the stem sticking out so I have three small surviving plants. Out of the four I planted.
The conference was at hand. Gardening was low on my priority list. I packed everything I needed and set about making sure my house was clean. I had a few potatoes starting to sprout in the pantry so I quartered them and planted them near the tomatoes. I didn’t have time to plant the peppers. I know I could have frozen the seeds, but instead, I took the dried seeds and put them in a planter I fully intended to host colorful annuals in front of my house.
By the time I returned from the conference I had what looked like a million pepper plants sprouting and a flourishing row of potato plants pushing through the earth. My tomatoes looked a bit sad but after a good watering, they bounced back.
My mother enjoys gardening as well, but didn’t put one out this year. She had a few cucumber seeds she planted in pots and I took her some peppers. We put them in a variety of flowerpots and set them on her patio table. We can almost literally watch the cucumbers and peppers grow as we look out the window. A little sun, a little water, and the plants grow a bit more each day.
The cucumbers are leafing out now. The peppers are getting taller and stronger.
My mom and I sit in her family room and watch. We joke about our “farm.” We look forward to getting the plants into the ground.
It is a “little garden.” But even a little garden grows hope.