Friday, June 1, 2012

Oh, How Does Your Garden Grow

My garden is full of green plants, deep green growing beauty...from a distance.  Up close it's a little less beautiful because those big green plants are all thistles.
I have managed to figure out this gardening thing a little bit.  I don't get a garden in early, I don't plant a whole lot, but I do enjoy the little garden I have, this year.  This has been an evolving process.  I first helped with a garden several years ago.  My friend Marie and I attempted one, I don't know that it ever grew anything, I never (I say never because I'm being completely honest) went and worked in it.  My Mom Veenstra and I started one and I walked through it a few times but honestly she did all the work in that one as well.  Such a good gardener, ain't I?
Then my dear sweet husband decided we could just till one here at the house and have our own.  We planted a few things and grew weeds, lots and lots of big scary weeds.  Well, I know the other stuff grew, it's just that the weeds got bigger and completely choked everything else out.  The next year was pretty much the same scary mess, I planted less because I knew how much of a disaster the year before was.  Last year was much better.  Still keeping it simple I discovered a few tricks to keep ahead of the weeds.  PREEN, amazing tool, don't think I shall ever garden without it again.  Newspapers and grass clippings, best ever other tool in my arsenal.  When we disc/till in the early spring I mix PREEN in everywhere.  After a few weeks (at least, though usually in my case, several) I start planting.  Laying newspapers around the plants and topping seeds with layers and layers of grass clippings.  You may not see much dirt in my garden because there is such a layer of everything else, but the few weeds that do come through are so easy to get rid of.  LOVE IT!
Anyway on to this year and my beautifully green garden.  Thanks to the PREEN I don't have much for weeds in my garden.  Nor did I have anything planted besides potatoes until this week.  I did have plenty of thistles growing though.  So after stopping to get a few plants at the greenhouses this week I tackled the garden with my new found Time At Home (what a concept, school is out and now we get to be home during the day, YAY) and learned a few things.
1 - Quite likely it doesn't matter what kind of gloves you have on pulling thistles out is going to HURT!
2 - Thistle roots go DEEP, a single sturdy root that sets down and could teach us all a lesson or two. (Seriously one was the length of my forearm!)
3 - After pulling a five-gallon bucket of thistles you start to appreciate them.
Say what?  Yes, I said appreciate them.  Think on this, they can grow anywhere, despite anything you throw at them and regardless that there has been practically no rain for weeks they were a beautiful deep green.  They aren't a pesky little thing that just lays around in the way, they know where they wanna grow and set down their roots, deep.  Prickly on the outside yes, but they've gotta have some defense system, no one likes them.
I can appreciate that.  I can appreciate that because once I take the time to weed my garden I can see the beauty in what I have accomplished.  I can feel the satisfaction in a job well done.  I will most definitely enjoy the foods I will be growing and most likely take joy in watching them grow.
My gardening adventures are really only just begun I would say.  The years so far have been fun though because I may not have been successful in the vegetable garden but I'm seeing some success in the life garden.  The garden that is growing an 11 year old, an 8 year old, two 4 year olds and a 3 year old.  Ha, small wonder that the vegetable gardens were what they were in the past years.
How does your garden grow?  The garden of your heart?  A life garden?  A patio garden?  A small flower garden (oh I hope to tackle these someday too) or a large one?  We're all cultivating and growing something each day of our lives, enjoy the beauty in your garden.

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