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Garden invaders

July 13, 2015

My garden is a mixed bag right now.  Peas and lettuce and herbs are happy, but the damp, cool weather hasn’t been good for the tomatoes, cukes, or squash.  Powdery mildew and early blight, I hate you both with a fiery burning hate topped off with grouchy hate sprinkles.

Overall, the garden is a success this year, however, because the kids are involved and loving it.  Pea in particular has been a big help with weeding.  He’s gotten pretty great at identification of some weeds I didn’t know until, um, perhaps last month when I looked them up.  He is also hell-bent on growing sweet corn, his most favorite food, despite my warnings that we don’t really have the space.  He tucked some seeds into the path at the back of the garden and declared it off-limits for walking.  Sure enough, there is some corn growing.  I hope the universe will throw him an ear or two – it would make him monumentally happy.

Tea hasn’t been quite as interested this year – his sole request was pumpkins, which we planted outside the fence due to size constraints.  Planted from seed in mid-May, the plants are still only a few inches tall with 4 leaves each.  It would take a miracle to get pumpkins off those things before frost.

I’m not sure why, but my plants seem to grow much slower than other people’s.  I don’t know if there’s not enough sun or I’m not fertilizing enough (I barely fertilize, I admit).  Thank goodness at least the spring vegetables have done well.

Last month my niece and nephew visited for a week and one of my favorite memories is the evening they invaded the garden with their cousins.DSC_03831 web

They descended on it like locusts, pulling everything in sight and devouring greedy handfuls.  “Rook”, 3, would ask for a positive ID before putting each leaf in his mouth.  “Arugula?”  “Lettuce?”  “Basil?”  Our assurances were met with bright smiles as his fist repeatedly entered his mouth.DSC_03771 web

“Cricket”, 5, was a bit fancier, and liked to roll herbs up inside her greens to make “salad”.  She also requested a bowl so she could bring some inside to eat with her dinner.  (This is especially great because “dinner” was strawberry shortcake – the one night a year we indulge in dessert-for-dinner as per old family tradition.  Actually given dessert for dinner, she wanted salad.)

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Watching all 4 cousins scampering around the garden and eating with gleeful abandon was a beautiful sight.  I don’t expect my kids to share my passion for vegetable gardening, but I will be thrilled if they find some small joy in eating something home-grown.

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