I have been a gardener at heart since I was a little girl.
One year I saved some seed from a slice of watermelon and planted it.
I was quite the novice at that point and made several mistakes, the key ones being:
A. I planted them right outside the back door.
B. I didn’t tell Granny I had planted them.
The seeds did sprout, and my spirits soared. Given the two mistakes previously mentioned, however, I should not have been surprised when my watermelon plants were mowed down a few days later.
One of the great things about gardening, though, is that you can always give it another go. There are second chances galore, and don’t we all need those?!
You’ll have to excuse the blurry photo, but this is mine and Dad’s first little garden. It was the spring of 1991. Our little plot got few too many hours of sunshine, so our yield was quite low. You can tell by the lack of marigold blossoms on that front row.
It was ours, though, and we tended and cared for it and had a few flowers for our table, a few vegetables for our pot.
A few years passed, and we added some gardeners. I have heard Dad respond more than once when asked how our garden is going, “We are growing children right now.”
You can tell by the pitiful squash plants and the abundant weeds in the above photo that we aren’t master gardeners, but we love to keep trying.
Gardening when y’all were little was somewhat about producing food. It was much more about spending time together and letting you experience up close the miracles of growth and life.
See the little guy in the photo above? He was hopping around when John and I went gardening recently. He reminded me of all the toad houses y’all built as we worked in the garden when you were little. Remember those?
This, of course, is the guy who can handle your gardening questions. Papa David knows all the ins and outs of growing just about everything. Will, this is you helping him plant their Kentucky garden in 2002.
We moved to the house we live in now in 2003. One of the first things we began to do was scope out a garden spot. There is a place in the corner of our back yard that we thought would be perfect.
And if it weren’t for the massive oak trees surrounding it, I think it might have been perfect.
We worked diligently that first year to remove a few of the smaller trees on the periphery of the opening, this future site of our grand garden.
For about one growing season – maybe two if we push it- we had sufficient sunshine, and we grew some beans and cucumbers and flowers and tomatoes.
Then those trees did what trees do, and they grew and sprawled and branched, and before you knew it we were down to about two good hours of sunshine a day. How did we not remember this problem from 1991?
Our kind neighbor Mr. Williams stopped by one afternoon. In the course of the visit, he remarked on the garden.
“Looks like you’re growing a garden in the shade.”
The word growing was very generous of him, for we were producing barely anything.
A couple days later he returned and told us he’d been thinking about putting in a garden and wondered if we’d like to partner with him.
Not only is Mr. Williams an engineer at heart who knows how to make things work, he is a fun and generous man, and he and his wife have become our friends over this little venture.
Mr. Williams knows how to do things right as you can see in the photo above! After I had the soil tested, he began adding just what it needed. This is very important, for I have always heard that if one has a dollar to spend on the garden, 99 cents of that should go to the soil.
He constructed a fence to handle the deer. Most importantly in the deep South, he constructed an irrigation system that pumps water to the garden from a nearby spring.
Now it is spring once again, and we are turning ground and sowing seeds, hopefully cultivating much more than vegetables.
I love you,