Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Garden for Every Lady in the Land


Gardening has long been a part of our Martin family tradition.

And while that statement is technically true, I mostly just wanted a reason to post this old picture because ohmygosh, I can't even handle the cuteness. Forget the carrots, look at all those cheeks and baby teeth!

My reality is that we woke up to snow again this morning and I'm bundled up in sweats with a cup of hot tea. But one of the best parts about being a mom is the mental strength and fortitude it builds. We can compartmentalize and emotionally detach with the best of them, and that's what this is all about.

It's straight-up mid-April, and I'm jamming my flag in this frozen soil and claiming it not for what it is, but what it will soon be. It's garden time, and I've been dreaming.

Since I'm already tucked away in my shell of denial and oblivion, it's as safe a time as any to reflect on my gardens of yore:

It totally doesn't cause me any measure of pain to look at this virtual thicket of awesomeness that used to live in my back acreage.

And I'm not just saying that. It really doesn't bother me. Not one bit. Sunsets refracting off organic vegetable foliage are totally overrated and everyone knows it.

{{Help! It hurts so dang bad!}}

This is my reality now. Four raised beds against a gritty, urban backdrop of ramshackle, asbestos-shingled garages,automobile carcasses, and a weed-beseiged alley. 

Viva la 'hood!

Though it's true I miss parts of my old life, particularly the traipse-about garden, I don't miss my actual living life. This one here is the one I was made for, and we now have a solid season of proof in hand that tomatoes are tomahtoes no matter if they lap up well water or if their hydration is bought from the city.


 So now, all there's left to do is get busy deciding.

I've already called it: I'm splurging on more of this white hardware-store edging. It is 0% practical across every measurable axis, but it brought me unspeakable joy back on the farm. I need it in my city life, stat.


I also need ranunculus.
Ranunculuses.
Ranunculai.

Whatever. I just need them.

They wonder-struck me at each stage of their high-brow, ruffled development. It was magical, watching them pop up despite my well-honed instincts to fail at growing anything remotely exotic.

Maybe because the beans flaked out last year and the zucchinis bailed, I find I'm far more concerned about the flowers I want to grow this time around. Cory has now said to me approximately 83 times, "Let's just make a cutting garden this year." And you know homeboy doesn't really even know what a "cutting garden" is. I think we're all just craving some low-maintenance pretty. We want some bang for our buck, and we can't chance losing face over finicky beans again.

Or maybe we're just becoming city slickers faster than we thought.

No matter who you are or which side of the tracks you find yourself, I'm here to tell you, growing stuff in dirt will change the way you see spring and summer and life and maybe even God. It's a reminder to slow down and stay home and pickle the dang cukes while the sun shines.

Where are you on all this gardening business?

Are you an expert? Tell me how to grow brussels sprouts and whether or not I should bother with asparagus.

Are you a novice? What's the best tip you have to share with other fellow novices?

Are you too scared to even try? Let me pet your hair and assure you - you can do it. Invest $2 in a packet of zinnia seeds and call me from cloud nine when they're in bloom and you can't stop loving them.

We're in this together, Sisters. Grab a row, and let's hoe!


37 comments:

  1. sweet cheeks & teeth. our babies (now teenagers too tall to reach) had soft bread cheeks, like the best, warm, dinner rolls you could ever hope for at the best church pot-luck-feast! squish, squish, squeeze!
    I fell in love with ranunculus a few seasons ago, but could not find any. found some bulbs/spidery weird things labeled as ranunculi at Meijer- then just the other day, saw ready-grown ranunculus! I may have to go pick up 3 or 17, budget be danged! I'm not a green-thumb gal, but something pretty pushing up through the dirt does my heart some good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I used the weird, dried-up spidery things from Meijer. And look what they turned into??!

      Delete
  2. I WANT A GARDEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (insert foot stomping and gnashing of teeth!) :-) We are trying to sell our house and downsize and a garden spot is a requirement for the new "digs"....pun intended!

    Whew...thanks. I feel better now! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ate the first asparagus yesterday, glory hallelujah.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm definitely a novice. I've got a bit of a brown thumb and what that heck is a cuke?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't have any gardening tips. I do vote for more pretty white edging though. : )

    ReplyDelete
  6. Someone has already given me some ranunculus...yay for their color! And I'm all about "low-maintenance pretty." We're suburbs people, so herbs in pots on the patio are my thing, especially basil, rosemary, and cilantro. You can do a whole lotta summer cooking with those three.

    ReplyDelete
  7. In the Wisco (that's the fancy way to say Wisconsin by the by) we are freeeezzzinnnggg cold too, but I have "PLANT EARLY SEEDS" on my calendar for next Monday and by golly, I will do it!! Spinach and peas (which will never be cooked, only eaten directly from the vine) and lettuce oh my! Later there will be beans (give them another try girl!), zucchini, cucs, tomatoes and jalepenos (because salsa). The hardy herbs are already coming up and much basil will be planted (because pesto and bruschetta). And oh so many flowers! Hubby knows that my gardens are way cheaper than therapy and my ultimate from of worship to my creator and King! We have a fantastical little Amish greenhouse just outside of town that I can't help but blow my garden budget at every dang year. :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. My garden is always available for picking and/or weeding if you choose to chuck the whole vegetable garden thing this year! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I want to try....I really, really want to...but I'm a repeated failure. It's true. The weeds. I can't keep up...Ever since I moved to the eastern side of the country from the central valley of California. I mean it rains EVERY WEEK and the weeds grow overnight! My family mocks me every time I say I'm going to attempt a garden, because they know. My husband told me last time I had a garden that it was embarrassing! hahaha! So, this year my goal is a tomato plant in a pot...I can do that, right???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try a raised bed! The idea is that you pack stuff in pretty tightly and there's not as much room for weeds to take over AND they're all contained. I'm telling you, you'll never go back. :)

      Delete
  10. We are trying our hand at a garden this year, I am hardly a green thumb but love the idea of picking some fresh green beans or peppers to add to our summer meal.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey!!! So...there is this song. It's by a guy named Caleb Jude Green and it's called "Seeds are to Sow". First, I just like the song. Second, it's deep stuff. It articulates so perfectly the correlation between dirt gardening and heart gardening. I'm CONVINCED that the first exists to give us a tangible picture of how we should go about the second. Third, we shall have no dirt garden this year. As of two weeks ago we received lab work back confirming mycotoxin poisoning from toxic mold in our house. Having left clean Colorado just 6 months ago for Houston, we can barely get our heads on straight. We knew it was a new chapter beginning and a fresh start, but we didn't realize how much of one we would be getting. All of our possessions are sitting in a house that we vacated on March 31. Not a lick of it will go forward with us and we are looking at 3-5 years of medical "adventures" to rid our bodies of the mycotoxins. So, in a season when I expected to be digging in the dirt with our sweet littles, we will instead be playing in the pool at our apartment and traipsing about for medical care. It's not at all what we expected, but are so grateful to know what we are dealing with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my WORD! I love that your spirit is so bright amid these crazy circumstances. So thankful you found out what was going on. (How did you find out?? Now I'm just being nosy...) Praying God continues to flood you with his goodness.

      Sending virtual ranunculus your way!

      Delete
  12. We were sick. From the time we got here...a whole array of things that were unrelated and completely out of character for our family...rashes, respiratory stuff, ear infections, personality swing with our toddler, loss of appetite...I felt like I was on a wild goose chase. Then I read about Misty, who writes a blog called 'Charlie's Song'. All the pieces fell into place. So we had lab work done and it came back positive for mycotoxins. Then the house got tested and there is mold everywhere. The mycotoxins are so small and indestructible so we left every material possession behind and unless the attorney who is reviewing the case feels like she can win (bc we are confident the seller covered it and didn't disclose the presence of mold), we are looking square in the eye with foreclosure. It's not pleasant, obviously, and is so overwhelming. But I've learned enough from going through what we did with our little ones a few years back to know that God is sovereign and will see us through the storm. SO, in spite of being 2 weeks post partum and living in a basically empty apartment, I see His hand and His promises holding true. I'm not a fan of the journey through necessarily, but looking ahead to the arrival with much anticipation of whatever lesson He's imparting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wowzers. Again, so glad you discovered what what up!
      Maybe you've mentioned this to me before? It sounds so familiar...
      Or maybe there's another reader who went through this??

      Either way, my prayers are with you right this minute, Sisterfriend!
      God is good. All the time.

      Delete
    2. Yes - we emailed back & forth...you answered a q&a on my blog (that I'm no longer writing), etc.

      Thank you for your prayers as we navigate the next handful of decisions!!!

      Delete
  13. I have a whole container of seedlings I started with the kids a couple of weeks ago. I didn't realise they would germinate so quickly and we are still having days of only a top of 30 degrees! Now, they all look they are going to burst out of our seed raising planter box and I have no idea what to do! I successfully grew some flowers and one tomato plant last summer so I got a bit carried away with the seeds. Do I pot them up into small but bigger pots until they can go outside? I need to spend some time with Mr Google....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a question for my Dad, who rivals Mr. Google in this area! I will consult...

      Delete
    2. Dad says yes, re-pot into bigger pots until they can go out. This is what he does, starting them in seed trays then re-potting them into larger, biodegradable pots that can just be plunked into the dirt outside when the time comes.

      Delete
  14. The garden is my heart and I think I would, could, and have done it wherever I am, with whatever smidgeon or expanse of land I have. I have never grown ranunculus…..but want to….I love to grow crisp green beans….meandering pumpkins….herbs of every type….you name it, I want it. But my over the top favorite? zinnias. crowd in the seeds and later in summer I have a dreamy patch of color to fill my canning jars for farm fresh centerpieces.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I can just see you leading the charge in a community garden. You sharing your love, knowledge and infectious joy with your reluctant neighbors. Let me know how that turns out :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. it is currently 90 degrees. it will be 100 within a month. gardens don't work where i'm from.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Sometimes on the weekends, when there are so few blog posts to read in my Feedly, I pick a blog and delve into the archives. I did that on your blog this weekend, and oh my word...the photos were precious (Ruby in her snow suit with the cheeks! so cute). I did not inherit any of my mother's glorious green thumb. I am always taking mostly dead plants to her house for revival on her porch. So I haven't had the best luck with gardening, except I can grow lots of jalapeƱos! I have enough to make weekly salsa and plenty to share and to freeze for the winter. I love ranunculus and need to try those out. Thanks for the photos.....sorry you have more snow. Here in VA we have monsoon rains today. I just keep telling myself that at least the rain is tamping down the pollen :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am your gardening doppelganger. Is that a thing? It is now. Your pictures of your old gardens make MY heart hurt, and I never even lived there. I love gardening! Just a few minutes ago, I was lovingly staring at my pea and lettuce sprouts. Oh. We live in town too, on a small plot of land. We built two raised beds this year because that's what was in the budget. We'll eventually have four like yours in a similar layout. Only I had Aaron angle the corners of the beds in at the center, so there is a diamond in the middle. But with only two...they sort of look like coffins?!? Haha. We're rolling with in. I am conflicted on asparagus too. It seems like a lot of room and a lot of waiting. Zinnias, always. Ranaculus - I want to try. Did you start from seed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bought a bag of disconcerting, dried-up spidery, brown "roots" (or something) from our grocery store.
      I never imagined they would actually bloom!

      Delete
  19. We have 3 raised beds and just added a greenhouse and in ground garden last Fall. We live in a fairly mild climate (zone 8) so the cool crops are coming up now like peas, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. I am more in to growing food sources but so admire those who grow flowers - cutting or otherwise. Gardening is therapy for me and never fails to draw my mind and heart toward the creator. You do such a great job blooming where you are planted. Urban gardening is hip now so you will fit in perfectly : )

    ReplyDelete
  20. We recently moved from urban to rural, and although we travel every summer (full-time ministry), we are not this year. I am so excited for my possibly one chance at a garden. Great inspiration that the warmth will actually come and things will start to grow again.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I think if I were to write a vampire novel, I'd name the sweetest, prettiest, most likable vamp, "Ranunculus." Also, we will be moving in the next couple of months, so now that I'm all revved up about gardening, I can't as I won't be around to reap the benefits! However, we'll be heading to Florida and if my mom only knew the ideas I have about planting things in her yard...... Enjoy every inch- all the inches!- of your raised boxes!

    ReplyDelete
  22. So, we live in a town home. We have a concrete patio about 8X10 feet and a three-foot wide swatch of dirt down either side. We put in a raised bed there about 4 years ago and what has followed has been the most annoying, discouraging, varmit-ruining, birds-and-squirrels-eating-seeds-before-they-even-have-a-chance-ing struggles. Oh, did I fail to mention that we share a water spigot with our neighbor and it's on her side of the fence so every time we want to water our plants we have to go into her yard in order to do so? Awesome. So my husband planted lettuce, arugula, and mescalin greens this year and we'll probably get a tomato plant (even though something usually gets to the tomatoes just as they ripen so we don't usually get to eat those either) but otherwise...I'm with you on the flower deal this year. Just pretty. If I can get them to grow (and get over the part that a neighbor convo is in order every time I want to water my plants) then I'll be okay.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Definitely do asparagus. First - there's fresh asparagus early in the spring. Second - when it's short season is over, it turns into a lovely ferny backdrop for whatever else you're growing. Third - it shows that you're there for the long haul. I'm putting a new bed in this spring. Yippee.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Grow some perennial foods. Plant once and eat for years then leave behind a treasure to whomever comes after. Strawberries, asparagus, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, figs, grapes, dwarf fruit trees... Feel rich walking around your own yard snacking on expensive organic berries.

    ReplyDelete
  25. ranunculus are my fave. i usually just say "some ranunculus" to avoid the plural because who even knows.

    no gardening here in downtown grand forks.
    and our farmer's market doesn't get crunk until mid june. because north dakota.
    (thanks for always providing me with flowery pics! dreamy)
    i'm looking forward to moving south for flowers and veggies, that's for sure.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Shannan (did I spell that right?) check out this Web site, and ask them to send you their catalog. You will go crazy looking at the pictures. They're stunning. You could tear them out of the catalog and hang them on your wall. But better than that, their seeds are wonderful and grow really well. I've had great luck growing some really unusual stuff.

    rareseeds.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. fact: i have STILL never in my life gotten to SEE ranunculus in real life. never. only in photos. and they are so incredibly beautiful. i love them. or at least i think i do.
    fact: i have a big garden plot now and i am too exhausted to even begin to plant this year. :( but 2015... i think we will do it. i hope.

    ReplyDelete