I get how to do it and I understand why plants fail to thrive under my care. Ultimately, I know that it takes time and attention and consistency.
I am not inherantly weak in the areas of time, attention and consistency. But, because I am try to be consistent in other areas of my life (parenting, sewing, cooking, etc.), my green thumb turns brown and shrivels up.
And I don't like to be bad at things. I really love to be excellent at anything that I tackle. (Yes, there's my type-A coming out.) And, since I know I can't be excellent in the gardening department, I have chosen not to dive in head first with a field of raised bed gardens every spring only to watch them choke and die due to my inattention.
It's best and I'm okay with it. There will be a season in my life in which I will be wholly devoted to gardens and raising vegetables from seeds. It will be glorious but it will not be today.
BUT.... but, but, but... there are some particular benefits of gardening which I am not prepared to miss sharing with Oliver. We can buy our veggies at the farmers market and pick up flowers on the cheap at the grocery store. But I do not want my little wide-eyed boy to miss out on the hands-on experience and miracle of watching a seed grow into food for his body. There are some lessons to be learned here and my brown thumb is no excuse for taking a pass on them.
So. I know my limits but I also see my opportunity. Every Spring for the past several years I have taken Oliver to the garden store and we've chosen a seed packet to grow together.
Every Spring we find a place to plant our seeds (usually somewhere in the front or back landscaping since we don't have dedicated garden space - a little hillbilly, yes. But it's got to go somewhere!) and as we plant them we talk about the science of what happens to them underground. (This is fun because every year the science of it all makes more sense and our conversations are more interesting and full of questions.)
Not only do we get to talk about the science of gardening, but we also get to talk together about Who sends the rain and makes the sun shine. We get to talk together about the Creator and how he created this food to grow to nourish the people he created to serve Him.
These seeds grow up and bring glory to their Maker!
This year Oliver chose to grow carrots. (Here are the peas we grew two years ago.) They sprouted quickly and in no time we were seeing the leafy tops reaching high out of the ground - an indication that sweet orange roots were digging deep into the earth.
We decided to harvest our carrots a little early this year because, as you can imagine, they were beginning to look a little ridiculous and unruly in our landscaping. (We really do need to dedicate a little garden area in our yard for our yearly gardening attempts.) We made the call since we have a big party planned for this weekend (my birthday weekend!) and we needed to pull things together to make the flower bed look like a flower bed and not a wild field.
We had a great time pulling them up (so pleasing!) and we plan to roast them with olive oil and parsley for lunch today. Yum!
Sure, they could have grown a lot longer if I had let them be, but this is what I get for my poor planning.
I love this sweet tradition I have started with my little boy. It's not perfect, but it's important. So we do it.
After all, G.K. Chesterton said:
"Anything worth doing is worth doing badly"
We did't do anything spectacular. We didn't even do it very well. But, Oliver has developed a love for planting and gardening and an appreciation for the food he eats and an understanding of how it grows. And that is worth doing.
Here's to many more years of growing vegetables badly because it's better than not doing it at all! (Or, to stepping out in faith and attempting a real, grown-up garden someday!)
What is something in your life today that is worth "doing badly" instead of not at all?