Tuesday, April 28, 2009
First planting and first harvest
The past week was unusually hot for April--in the 90's. The warm weather makes us want to get out and plant the garden. I had to hold my husband back and remind him that Mother's Day is the official planting time for our state, when all danger of frost is over. Some vegetables can be planted early though, so Fred got out the small tiller and stirred up a small area in our big plot of ground for our salad garden. He's already tilled twice with the big tiller, adding in fertilizer and mulch. Arielle said, "I can't wait to get my hands in the dirt!" The girls helped to plant the spinach, lettuce, onions, and radishes--in their swimsuits. Fred promised them he would spray them with the hose after we finished.
I noticed the rhubarb was ripe and ready, so we cut several stalks for everyone's favorite-- Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. The girls wore the huge leaves for hats and then used them for flamenco dancing (in their swimsuits) before tossing them in the compost heap behind our house. I know, the leaves are poisonous. But no one was eating them. Friends, anyone want some rhubarb? Come on over!
We have been planting our garden for 12 years now. Fred has expanded it, fenced it, then re-fenced it to keep out a variety of critters. We rotate the crops and we replenish the soil. We've had to re-plant several times after flooding and a few times we've slopped through the mud after a thunderstorm and helped the baby plants to stand back up. But our garden rarely disappoints. We never use pesticides or herbicides and we have never had any attack of insects or disease. Why is this?
It's a healthy garden. The sun shines hot and strong on it most of the day. We usually get enough rain to keep it hydrated. We weed and thin to prevent over-crowding. A multitude of birds and bats eat up the pesty insects. We give the garden lots of attention and watch for problems. Maybe this is good advice for humans too. Good nutrition, sunshine, fluids. Keep out what hinders good health--poor diet, inactivity, stress. Stay away from crowds. And then let God do the rest. He provided our bodies with good immune systems to keep the pesky bugs out. If they do happen to get in, they are quickly destroyed.