2013-06-20 / Viewpoint

The VIEW from here

Something wonderful is happening in the garden

Krystal Johns — Staff Writer Krystal Johns — Staff Writer “Look Mom! Something wonderful happened!”

Those are the excited words that pipe from Jordan’s mouth whenever he notices something new in our small garden. When a seed finally sprouts, or the onions shoot up four inches in a day, or the sugar snap pea vine finds the string we have stretched across for it to climb, every time it’s, “something wonderful happened!”

Oh, if we could all see such things through the eyes of a four-year-old.

I don’t consider myself a real gardener. I have a bare patch of ground waiting to be planted, and a flat of vegetable plants that are quickly wilting because they have been sitting there waiting for weeks. I have a handful of pea plants that we planted late in a container on my deck. And I have the salad table, in which less than a third of what we planted actually came up. But I, too, get a little thrill when “something wonderful happens.”

I know each sprout in our salad table personally. I check it after it rains to make sure my lovely bright green baby lettuces didn’t get destroyed. I look every afternoon to see how the onions are growing, or whether the dill is big enough to pinch off a bit for my scrambled eggs. I look for evidence that the bugs are sharing our salad. I inspect tiny sprouts trying to determine if they’re weeds or something I am not familiar with out of the “mixed greens” seeds I planted.

I wish I was more of a gardener, and hopefully the more I try, the better I will get at it. My dad can grow just about anything — he even keeps outdoor plants alive indoors through the long

Upper Peninsula winters, and starts new ones when there are still feet of snow on the ground. I grew up playing in the dirt with my dad, eating spinach leaves and still-dirty baby carrots, finding the beautifully hideous tomato hornworms and harvesting crisp green peppers and cucumbers. I didn’t absorb a lot of the how-to, but in me mom and dad certainly cultivated a passion for fresh, home-grown produce.

My boys love to pick veggies out of our yard and eat them, and I love that they can — and will — do that. I don’t use chemicals, so I know they’re safe. So what if a few bugs crawl out of our lettuce before I have a chance to wash it? My kids are eating their vitamins!

Jordan, in particular, seems to have an interest in identifying and sampling plants. Among his favorites are chives (he constantly has onion breath) and various mints. In fact, at a birthday party over the weekend, he spotted from across the room a peppermint plant growing in a pot in my friend’s sunroom. He exclaimed, “MINT!” and went running to snap off a leaf to chew. Later, he found her chives in the back yard and snacked on one of those as well. Thankfully, she was very understanding. I am planning to put in a chive and mint section in the garden, all for Jordan to pick as he pleases.

There isn’t much that is more basic than sticking a seed in the ground and watching it grow into a plant that you tend carefully until it’s time to eat it.

The simplicity is exciting and beautiful... it’s something wonderful!

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