My garden is small, even smaller this year than usual. Money was tight and I could only afford so many plants. I have absolutely no luck trying to grow from seeds, so I try to catch when the plants are on sale. My garden consists of a variety of tomatoes, bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumber, two okra plants and two eggplant. My allotted area is small so, I’m limited. My garden is planted down at my parent’s place because my yard is too shaded.
I am following the blogs of other gardeners whose gardens mine would fit into multiple times. I have friends whose gardens are much larger. They have been canning and freezing the spoils of their labors, showing impressive amounts put up for winter. I will admit to being somewhat envious, but not to the point it is a problem. I’m actually happy for their bounty. My niece and nephew (in law?) have a really nice size garden that looks amazing. Tall, full, green and productive. They are also using chicken droppings since they have chickens now as well. (I will admit to hoping for eggs.)But there are four of them, they need more.
Growing up my grandfather had not one but two huge gardens. One over beside the house and one down at the bottom of the hill. When we got old enough, we helped out. To us it was part game, part challenge, part “I know what’s coming and its going to be amazing”. And it was. His gardens always produced abundantly.
I remember snapping beans until I would dream of sitting on the porch snapping beans. I stood in the hot kitchen watching as the beans were blanched and put in jars. There was no fancy contraption to do the canning. The jars once filled and the lids on, were taken down to the edge of the woods and placed in a cauldron of boiling water, a fire burning beneath.
There is a building constructed with cement blocks. It sits along the edge of the woods, the temperature inside always stays close to the same. It was inside that building where the potatoes were stored in wooden crates. Stacked high and deep. The smaller potatoes packed separately for easy access.
His corn grew so tall that we could run and hide within and not be seen. This was long before that scary movie was ever dreamed up. Shucking the corn was never my favorite past time, but I sure didn’t mind eating what was grown.
For a very long time now, I’ve wanted to plant a garden that would produce well. Knowing it would never be as amazing and productive as my grandfather’s but maybe close. At least produce enough that should he be looking down at my gardening attempts he would smile.
One year I had a garden that mainly produced cucumber. I had so many cucumber I was begging people to take some. I had no idea at the time that I could have made pickles. I know now. I don’t exactly know how, but that can be learned.
One year I had a garden that produced an abundance of squash. Every time I walked by the garden I think more popped out ready to be harvested. Poor mom was also drowning in squash as I just kept giving her more. Even as I froze a lot.
One year it was sweet bell peppers that wanted to be top producer.
It was almost funny the way there was one that flooded while the rest kind of hung back and produced just what was required in the job description.
This morning I was sitting here watching it rain. Right after lunch mom called and asked if I had any reason to go to the bank, well, I guess I do now. Then I came back and got caught up on what had been shared in the blogosphere. My son came in from work and we chatted a bit, he went to sit down and I figured I needed to get out of this chair for a while. I decided I’d wander down and check my garden.
I’m really glad that I made sure that I had extra bags with me as well as my bucket. I came back home with an amazing abundance of everything, but eggplant, that hasn’t produced yet. I showed everything to my son, almost forgetting that I’m supposed to be an adult, and wanting to jump up and down clapping my hands gleefully and near shouting look! I know how my afternoon is going to be spent tomorrow. But I am not complaining.
The thing is, I made a comment to someone’s blog today that said my prayers each night include “Use me Lord, place my feet on the road You would have me travel”. One of my hopes, is that what I write plants seeds. That the plants that grow produce things like hope, compassion, encouragement, inspiration, education, understanding…. That the one thing, that is produced in over abundance, so much so that while the others can be shared, this can be shared even more greatly and readily. with anyone and everyone, everywhere. Love. That we take the harvest and not store it for later, but use it, share it now. That is the garden that is most important to me. The one that in some way makes a difference. That in some way makes life better. That, is how I wish for my garden to grow.