Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Soul Food. . .

Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at the big picture, note all the details, and reevaluate.  I have a 2 year old boy, so getting things done isn't always easy.  In fact, my nerves have been stretched taught and thin lately, making me quick to snap or lose my temper.  

This year I have 28 tomato plants.  Sunday I planted them in my freshly tilled, plowed, and covered garden.  But I had to split up the job to accommodate Bug's bedtime.  For 45 minutes I left him inside with his brother (13) and Disney's Lilo and Stitch while I started planting.  At the insistence of my husband I wanted to get them in the ground before the impending three days of rain heading our way.  (Thank you Atlantic storms.)  

In that first expanse of planting time I succeeded in getting everything I needed out to the garden and establishing a system for efficiency.  I even got 14 of the tomato plants into the ground.  
28 Tomato Plants

Here's a little secret I use for planting, be it seeds or transplants:  Dig the hole and fill it with potting soil.  For the tomatoes I mix in Tomatoes Alive! as well.  Add your transplant or seed(s).  (For transplants I use less potting soil to start and add more after adding the plant.  For seeds I fill the hole to 1/2 inch below the top.  This helps in heavy or copious rains.)  Water lightly.  
Sunbright Tomatoes

Brandywine Tomatoes
I took a break from my garden to put Bug to bed, but he wasn't exactly cooperative.  He was upset about having to get changed and wanted to hide in Daddy's room.  I let him go while I got his pj's ready, and when I went to find him I pretended that I couldn't see him laying on the floor by the bed.  We made a game of it, which helped to ease him into getting changed.  I even put him in the tub for a quick "shower." 

But the point is I didn't freak out when he started to, and I credit that to working in my garden.

So after Bug was sleeping soundly and Tommy was tucked into bed, I went back out to my garden to finish the job.  Clad in my thick flannel shirt-jacket and sporting my head lamp, I wrapped my gel pads around my knees and pulled on my gloves.  (I'll tell you more about these later because I love them so much, I feel they need a shout out.)  

Top 4 are Cherries
Bottome 4 are Grapes
My wonderful husband was going to provide me with a spotlight, but it died.  So I kneeled between the rows where I was planting my tomatoes and got to work with just my head lamp.  It wasn't a big deal.  I use the head lamp for pollinating my gourds, so it wasn't an inconvenience.  Tom went inside and left me to my planting.

That's when the understanding enveloped my soul with its soft warmth.  Gardening is good for my spirit, my innermost wellbeing.  It cleanses me like nothing has since horses graced my life.  I'm not talking about just any gardening, though.  This purging only happens after the sun paints the sky with purples and oranges.  It's those quiet hours as the sun sets and the world grows dark and quiet.  I don't use the time for reflection.  That seems counter-productive to me.  I simply absorb the sunset,  the dusk, the night.  I let the sounds and the air invade me--body, mind, spirit.  And I am left all the better for it.

So I got all my tomatoes planted Sunday night.  The cherry plants have tomatoes on them already.  This coming weekend I'm going to start my seeds.
Baby Cherry Tomato

What does gardening do for you?

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