Tender Transplants

I’ve spent a great deal of time digging in the dirt in the last few weeks.

I’ve divided African violets, re-potted house plants, and transplanted tender seedlings into larger containers.

Tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cabbage, eggplants, cauliflower.

eggplant seedlingsIt’s a slow, meticulous and rather messy job,  but it does give one a great deal of time to think.

While my hands were covered in potting soil and I carefully moved the tender root systems from one container to a larger one, it suddenly came to me that I am in a transplanting season in life.

My kids are growing up fast and and leaving. They are being transplanting from our home to homes and apartments of their own.

They’ve outgrown their old lives just as my seedlings have outgrown their pots.

They need more room.

But, unlike my plants, I will not be the one to transplant my children. It’s time for them  to do it for themselves.

New jobs, new classes, new friends.

New problems, new responsibilities, new decisions.

On their own.

As I looked down at the tomato seedling in my hand and saw it’s fragile roots, I realized how vital a strong root system is to a plant.

How much more so for my children!

tomato seedlingsAnd my momma heart prayed, “Take care of the roots, children!”

Those precious roots that your dad and I have tried to build into your lives.

Roots that will anchor you in the bedrock of strong faith.

Roots that will help you stay strong when the world is storming around you.

Watch those roots!

Tend them carefully.

Water them.

Give them good soil.

Let them grow deep and strong.

Please children, hear your momma’s heart.

Take care of the roots.

First of the Garden Produce

Would you believe that we had fresh kale and lettuce from the garden already?!

That’s right – on March 31 – which is officially the earliest we have ever eaten from the garden – we had our first salad.

lettuceI was going to publish this yesterday – but then I realized that some of you might think it was a hoax because of April Fool’s Day.

But believe me- this is no joke.

So how did we get to a harvest so quickly when this is the time most people are just getting things planted?

Remember back last fall when I happened to mention in a post that Buddy and I transplanted some late cabbage, broccoli, kale and lettuce into a thrown together cold frame of cement blocks and old windows?

broccoliWe had hoped to harvest fresh veggies into the winter – but that didn’t work so well. Everything stopped growing, some even looked dead, so I called the experiment a mistake and forgot about it.

But then the weather warmed up this spring and some of those plants perked right up and started to grow!

it was a miracle!

cabbage

And now, for the first time ever – instead of playing catch up with my Amish neighbors –  I’m ahead of them!

Never mind that I had to start last October and it was kind of an accident.

Hey – I win is a win!

And fresh veggies the last day of March is most definitively a win!

Showing Restraint

SeedsYesterday was a happy day. 🙂

I finally got to play in the dirt.

I’m not sure why it took so long to get my seeds started this year – but they are done now and sitting pretty in the sun room.

I check them every hour or so – just in case they sprouted already.

You should be proud of me – I actually showed great restraint in my planting.

Well – at least as far as tomatoes go.

I only planted thirty-six instead of my usual 50-60. But now I’m wondering if that’s enough? Maybe I should have planted more?

No worries about peppers though. I’ve planted seven different kinds. Five sweet varieties and two hot.

I guess I’m kind of obsessed with peppers right now.

And not just me! Jan ate a new variety over the weekend that he loved so much he spent a few hours researching it.

He finally found seeds in Ohio and bought me some.

He’s wonderful like that!

Now I just need to wait for them to come so I can plant them.

And for everything to grow.

And the ground to warm up.

And the Amish greenhouse to open so I can buy more plants and more seeds!

So I can plant more things!

I told you I was showing great restraint this year. 😉

PS: The seeds haven’t sprouted yet – I just checked again.

Crazy Garden Lady

kaleI think I have officially become the crazy garden lady.

This whole “let’s extend the garden season” has become a bit of an obsession.

Case in point –

One evening last week I realized while listening to the late news that the temperature could dip below freezing over night.

How had I missed this?

It was now after dark, Jan wasn’t home and my poor precious plants were ready to die a vicious death in the cold.

I had flashbacks of the poor tender seedlings I murdered in the spring.

No – I couldn’t let it end this way!

I grabbed Buddy and we headed out into the pitch black night to rescue my broccoli and cabbages.

We couldn’t find a flashlight – so Buddy grabbed the little solar lamp by the workshop. And with its feeble light we slowly ventured out to the garden and attempted to cover the plants using tarps and bricks.

In the wind.

And the dark.

And the cold.

I only ran into the electric fence once.

At one point I thought, “This is crazy!”

And it was.

You know those those plants have done nothing all week but stay alive? They haven’t grown or changed or produced huge heads. Nothing.

How’s that for gratitude?

I’m done.

There’s a deep freeze coming next week and I decided to let them go.

That’s it.

No more covering them.

No more worrying about them.

I’m finished.

End of the garden 2014.

Well… except for those few kale plants and lettuce that Buddy and I put in a cold frame we made out cinder blocks and old windows.

I read somewhere that you could keep kale alive all winter…

Yep. Crazy garden lady.

Frost Drill

I’m still gardening.

Isn’t that crazy?

Here it is the last week of October and I’m still picking green beans and peppers!

Not that we haven’t had our close calls. We had a couple of mad dashes to the garden at sunset to cover plants, pick remaining produce and once to cut back all the sweet potato vines – just in case.

Plants got nipped both times – but we’re still gardening!

The melons, squash and pumpkins are done.

IMG_1670I’d say we did pretty good!

Take that you varmint squash bugs! I won this year!

Now to try every pumpkin recipe known to mankind to use them all up.

The sweet potatoes were dug for the first time ever.

They too were numerous – and in some cases – monstrous.

Like this one…

sweet potato It almost looks like a human heart! It’s actually several grown together because our soil was too clay to give them room.

It made a massive amount of sweet potato fries!

And remember those cabbage, broccoli and kale plants I put in for a fall crop?

They’re still alive! And growing!

We had kale for several meals and fresh lettuce again. The cabbage and broccoli are making nice heads – but they need a little more time.

I’m not sure we’ll get it though – the forecast calls for a killing frost Friday night.

Grow little broccoli and cabbage – grow fast!

Maybe my amazing husband can engineer some cold frames or hoop houses?

Or maybe I should just let the season end – thankful it was the best garden we’ve had in years.

Or maybe I should make another new pumpkin recipe while I decide.

Yes,  definitely that one.