Monday, September 14, 2009

Superpowers 101: Gardening

I know what you are thinking, "I have 1 million things to do and you want me to add gardening to the list? Are you CRAZY!?!?!?" Now that you mention it...No, I am not crazy. Growing things is what women do. Even before I had children, I enjoyed having a plant to care for. It is a way for women to express one of our divine, innate abilities; to nurture.

I first made a genuine effort to have a garden when we were living in Germany. Our Relief Society President (the leader of our church's woman's group) was an expert gardener. Her passion rubbed off on everyone. Her name was Irmgard but my kids called her "Irmgarden".

Most of the women in our church group were military spouses, living in government apartments. Some people would have said "oh, well, no yard for a garden." and that would have been the end of it. Irmgard was the kind of woman who didn't take no for an answer. Every spring she organized a class activity about container gardening, complete with pots, dirt, and a variety of plants. It was fun and educational.

I have to confess that although I planted tomatoes, peppers, chives, green beans, lettuce, and strawberries in my balcony garden, I had a very meager harvest. Some of the plants didn't get enough attention. Most of the tomatoes were plucked off and rolled down the drain before they had the chance to mature. The birds dug in the soil and carried off the young strawberries. I guess this could be seen as a failure but I saw it as a learning experience.

A few years later, my husband decided we were ready for a real garden. By that time we had a yard with wonderful soil and plenty of space.The whole family helped with planting and caring for the garden. We planted strawberries, corn, peppers, tomatoes, pumpkins, lettuce, green beans, potatoes and carrots. It became part of our regular routine to water the garden and check it for ripe produce.

Our strawberries were the sweetest I have ever tasted. The green beans were fresh and crisp. We had several pounds of potatoes. We only had 2 pumpkins but they made so much pulp that we had pureed pumpkin coming out of our ears! And speaking of ears, we had the most delicious corn! We invited another family over to help us eat it and ended up have just corn for dinner!

We still had some failures. The tomatoes rotted on the vine and the carrots never amounted to anything. We planted more lettuce than we could eat so some of it went to waste. Overall, we had a wonderful time.

This past summer we moved and could not plant another garden. After just one summer I am already disgusted with having to buy strawberries and lettuce. I wish I still had pumpkin in my freezer and home-grown potatoes in my pantry. Even the children have asked if we can plant a garden next year. I can't completely explain how or why this experience was so wonderful. I only know that it was.

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