Garden 2019

My 2019 garden arrived in my mailbox last night during a snow storm. Irony? A joke? More like hope in an envelope. Because that’s what a garden is, hope. It’s not the wishful thinking sort, it’s the active sort. You can’t poke a seed into the ground, cross your fingers and sit back and wait for something to happen.

A garden is the kind of hope that takes work. I have to make a space, clear the ground, prepare. Then, when the conditions are right, I plant the seeds. If I did nothing else some of the seeds would sprout and of the seeds that sprouted some of them would live long enough to bear fruit. But that’s a half-assed kind of hope; you can’t prepare the ground, stick in the seeds and walk away. You need to keep working, nurturing the seeds, and then the sprouts, the plants as they grow and flower and fruit. The act of nurturing also keeps hope alive.

Even with all the nurturing there are disappointments along the way. Heat, hail and torrential rain, bugs or other critters—so much out of my control. These things can kill a plant or steal your fruit and make you wonder why you even bother. It’s hard work and takes so much time and energy, what’s the point of growing a garden if something might ruin it?

But if you don’t let the setbacks kill your hope, eventually you will have a harvest. It doesn’t matter if it is large or small. The day you make a salad from greens, peas, radishes and flowers you just picked from the garden you nurtured is a day for celebration. That salad is the best salad you will have ever eaten. The green beans you pick and eat while standing in the middle of the garden will be the most amazing green beans you have ever tasted. The ripe tomato you ate on the way to the house because you couldn’t wait until you got inside will be the juiciest one you have ever had.

Sunshine in your hand. Sunshine in your mouth. Sunshine in your belly.

Hope beneath your feet. Hope in your fingers. Hope in your heart.

Who knew a small envelope could hold so much?

In case you are interested in what seeds are in the envelope:

  • Astro arugula
  • Pinto bush beans
  • Oxheart carrots
  • Parisian carrot
  • Easter egg radish
  • Babybeat beets
  • Cocozelle zucchini
  • Lettuce seed mix
  • Lady slipper radish
  • Miners lettuce
  • Calendula
  • Scarlet kale
  • sweet pea mammoth mix
  • Bachelors button
  • Zinnia carousel mix
  • Pink lipstick Swiss chard
  • Great northern white beans

I planted two kinds of hardneck garlic already in early October. In April I will have six pounds of three different potato varieties (two pounds of each variety) delivered for planting. I have seeds saved from last year’s garden—marigolds, sunflowers, pumpkin, green beans, black beans, shelling peas, snap peas and cowpeas. In addition there are perennial onions, herbs and vegetables, fruit trees and berry bushes. When the big plant sale comes around in May there will be a tomato plant or two, and I have a short list of a few things I have never grown before that I want to try. But more on that come spring.

So much hope.