By K. Taylor, Aurora ON. I planted a garden this year. A wee little patch, five foot by five foot at most. To be fair, I’ve gardened for years, our tiny scrap of grass was long ago ripped up by my long suffering handyman…er…husband and replaced with a pond, a small patio and clusters of perennials. But this year I did me some proper gardening: vegetables.
I’ll pause for you to reflect a moment in awed silence.
Vegetables! Yes! Apparently they’re not just available for purchase in jaunty displays at the supermarket (displays I suspect the marketing gurus think will fool us into believing we’re at the farmer’s market.) Not even are they only available at actual farmer’s markets. Apparently vegetables can grow in our very own backyards. Who knew?
Actually to be quite honest, I knew; at least in theory. My father has long been proud of his beans. My aunt feasts on homegrown everything all winter; scraping frost from carefully marked freezer bags in January and proudly proclaiming that these are garden peas thank-you-very-much. In a voice that suggests they are therefore far better than mere grocery store peas. Which of course they are. But just like I know the earth is round, there’s a vast difference between knowing it in theory and tying on a pair of sneakers and attempting to walk it’s circumference to find out for yourself. Especially when you hit the ocean.
But this summer I hit that ocean. Metaphorically speaking. I. Grew. Vegetables. And so many! And in such a small space! Our cup and veggie patch truly runneth over.
Then he’d show you his tomatoes.
So with four hundred years worth of family history at my back, my husband and I began to dig up the sedums and hostas from their happy little beds and relocated them; bought a large bag of soil and some fertilizer (both of which promised our vegetables would be in veggie heaven) and in went the new plants. Next year I might try growing from seed but… you know… baby steps.
All summer we patiently watered from the hose, then the rain barrel when finally mid-summer skies deigned to stop being so stingy. My eight year old has darted out most days to see what’s new, and many a summer morning started with her screaming for me to Come! Now! As if the new offering might disappear if I didn’t hurry. Which with the dog around is actually a possibility. Outside I would hurry and we’d twist like acrobats to peer under leaves and behind stalks to see what lovely new treat was growing, without disturbing anything.
We have butternut squash to enjoy, we’ve had cantaloupe, lettuce and an invading army of cucumbers; and when we’re not looking the dog has feasted on the tomatoes and anything else he can reach before we catch him. It has, in a word, been delightful.
So whether you’re young and hip; or old and hip; or middle aged and seriously uncool; this vegetable gardening thing is where it’s at. And though it may be my fanciful imagination, I can’t help but feel that all those generations who came before me are smiling down on my little garden. And I know just what they’re saying. “About bloody time too, girl!”