Before I left on a crazy whirlwind travel month this month, I transplanted those seedlings that I grew into my backyard, and prayed that they would take. I came back from Africa amazed that my turnip greens had become these big bushy leaves, and that everything else was coming along wonderfully. We harvested two super small, but super sweet strawberries at the end of the month, and then, we got into the mode of having to wait.
And wait some more.
I can honestly say that I don’t remember waiting this much with our container gardens are the previous Nicholes’ Manor, but I guess we did wait. Or maybe, it was the fact that cabbage worms ruined my broccoli, and we never got a chance to harvest the crown. We got okra, sun sugar tomatoes, even regular tomatoes (the variety escapes me,) sugar snap peas, and enough arugula to make one family sized salad and that was it. I tried to grow spinach, and it didn’t take. I tried to grow cilantro and it bolted too fast. I tried growing onions, and just didn’t know the proper way to space to allow for maximum root spacing.
In other words, farming is hard, yo! I have to give it to the farmers that spend an entire season trying to figure out the best way to grow their crops for the next spring, summer and fall. Spacing, rotating plots, and figuring out how much of what to plant. Here I am with my little backyard garden (that I’m SUPER pleased with, by the way) and I’m freaking out at the fact that I planted watermelon in BETWEEN some stuff. Probably not my best planning ever, but we’ll make it work. I think. I hope. I’m not sure.
Either way, it leads me to the fact that farmers are just REALLY in a space where I don’t think that I could be year round. If my entire income depended on proper rain, sun, and harvest times, I’d be up a creek. I mean. I’ve been pretty successful with what I have planted, but I do have some moments of where I want to rip the entire garden bed to shreds. Especially with those tomatoes. Those vines produce such a stinky quality, but the fruit of them is so wonderful! I even have the nerve to have nine plants going in my backyard. I want to get more, and put them in a raised bed if I can.
Essentially, I just want to thank farmers. No matter what is being said about seeds that they use, or practices that should or shouldn’t be happening, they keep moving. They like the mothers of America keep it moving no matter if they stand on the side of GMO seeds, or Non-GMO. They continue to provide for the people, organic, or otherwise, even while trying to provide for their families. I’m simply trying to provide some great sides for my six person family, and I’m completely humbled by the aspect of doing so. Sometimes it takes going back to look at all of the photos that I’ve posted since starting the journey.
Less than a month ago, the garden looked like this. It’s marvelous what can grow from a seed, isn’t it? I’m still learning about thinning and not feeling bad for doing so, can you imagine having to thin an entire field? Do farmers have to thin entire fields? That would be a great question to answer in next month’s post about farming, and eating from farm to table, don’t you think?
I’m not too sure that I could handle a farm so large that I needed a combine to harvest either. That just seems like a little more work than I am willing to give. I mean, harvesting with three little people underfoot is hard enough. Can you imagine ME driving a huge combine? They’re a pretty massive piece of machinery. I got to ride in one a couple of years ago while it took in corn cobs, and the amount of work it can do in a couple of hours allows farmers to spend more time with their families instead of having their families spread out to harvest. Plus it ensures that all cobs are harvested. I STILL have to go behind tiny hands, and even my own to make sure that we get everything that we’re supposed to.
Now, for my small factoid of the day. Did you know that when you harvest broccoli, you send your plant into shock, and because it wants to survive it sends out more crowns of broccoli? So you can eat nicely for a bit of time. Of course, with all of those good veggies and fruits that you’re getting it’s nice to have time and energy for a sweet snack. Checking out my friend Samantha’s blog, and I saw this Brownie S’Mores Pie that she created, and I think after a long afternoon in the garden, this may just be what we need for dessert. Of course, we can always balance it with fresh strawberries, right? Right. Annnnnd that’s how you end a blog post guys! Stay tuned for some more gardening posts as I continue to share about farming in the midwest – especially Illinois as part of the Illinois Farm Families initiative.