my garden story, continued

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June 5, 2012 by Zee

secret garden
Well that first real garden workday was magical.

But finding the time to go back and get involved was seeming a little too much like a fairy tale.

Even while away from the garden I thought about it.

And by thought about it, I mean smiled with relief on rainy days because i knew it was getting watered without me.

Well after a couple of weeks I ran into my neighbor. She is from 5 houses to the left; and 2 plots to the right, respectively.I’d cooed in marvel at her neat rows of onions.

Now here she was, at our local corner store.

“Have you been back to the garden?”  was her tormenting greeting.

‘No’ , I confessed ‘I had not.’

In my mind I punished myself for not having gone back sooner. I pictured my lettuce leaves all withered and pitiful, my tiny seedlings covered in bug holes…

After all the pomp and circumstance and good feeling, I’d let it all go to waste…

Her calming smile interrupted my thoughts.

“It’s looking Real nice. I went over a couple of days ago and I had some of the neighborhood boys water it and a few of the other plots because the water delivery came in.  It was looking a  little dry and I didn’t think you’d mind…. And with all the rain we’ve been having now…”

I squeezed her hand with gratitude and hurried away.

Another 3 days passed before I had a moment to walk in the direction of the garden with a little time to spare. The farmers market in our local park was set up that day.

When I finally trudged up that path after my local produce purchases;

I did a double take, then a triple take at my plot.

Before even putting in the combo on the entrance lock I had to step back, gasp and then re-check that I was looking at the proper plot.

My heart lept.

My little space of earth was overgrown! Yes there were weeds; no, my one little strawberry plant didn’t seem to have made it.

How did those little random seedlings become..Now astoundingly robust crowns of salad and side dishes?!

They’d tripled and quadrupled in size; and all I did was stick them in the ground.

Seeing that 3 X 9 space reminded me that there was a God, and that he is Good.

I shocked myself by remembering the combination to the lock and didn’t have to hitch the fence and alert neighborhood kids as to an avenue of mischief.

I hurried over and examined a few nice heads of broccoli? kale? cabbage? beginning to form.

After lightly weeding the soft, moist earth;

I snapped off as much red leaf lettuce as my arm could handle and proudly headed home.

Well I took a little bite of kale? as I walked.

Beautifully light green with fine fringed edges… I chewed it up and was surprised by a very spicy aftertaste, instead of the characteristic kale ‘bitterness’. I’d started to think I planted bunches of horseradish!

The Amish boy at the farmer’s market I deliberately passed on the way back advised my kale? was really mustard greens (hence the spicy, dry finish) and that it would compliment the collards I purchased earlier quite well.

That delicious fresh leaf combination of farmer’s market collards and “hand grown” kale ended up being the 2nd meal provided by the bounty of God at my own hand.

The first was that red leaf salad, which I will confess I ‘drizzled’ with store-bought ranch, as a second to store-bought italian which I couldn’t find.

One of the side dishes I will forever be the most proud of cooking.

Now to learn how to whip together a vinegar, oil salad dressing!


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