I have to pinch myself every time I say harvest. If you would have asked me back in April if I thought things would have gone this well, I would have been very skeptical. In April, the weather was still cold, wet and rainy. Our small backyard became the flooded marsh-like hot mess that it is every spring. My feet sloshed through the grass and mud as I dragged wheelbarrows and buckets of dirt. It felt ridiculous to be planting anything wearing a thick coat and a scarf. I had to ask myself if I really knew what I was doing.
My mom was never much of a green thumb, or so she says. Her mother was, so maybe she’s helping me from the great beyond, because I discovered I’m not half bad at this gardening thing. I actually love it. I love seeing the transformation from empty earth to the day when the green stuff actually looked like spinach! (I sent my mom a picture of the spinach with the text, “I grew food!”) I think my husband thought I was nuts planting so many spinach plants, but we have had fresh spinach and lettuce every day for at least a month!
That first day, after watering and waiting for weeks, it was time to harvest. We grabbed our kids and some scissors, and taught them how to snip off the larger outside spinach leaves. They were so into it! The three of them have been watching the garden grow, and checking on it every day. They understood how exciting and sacred this moment was. My oldest son surprised me the most. He hung in there long after the younger two had run off to play, carefully adding each delicate leaf to the pile.
The whole experience was beautiful, magical even. Each tender leaf, shoot, vegetable or fruit that grows this year will be cherished loved and eaten. Hopefully not one single zucchini goes to waste, I might be dreaming on that, I hear zucchinis are insane! After many salads, I’m excited to be harvesting the carrots, kale, turnips, and peas soon. Honestly this garden has been such a labor of love, and learning for myself and everyone involved. Growing a garden might mean different things to different people, but for me its about love. Its the love and care of your family and neighbors, its the love of this planet and all its gifts, its the love of creating something with your hands and of course the love of food.
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Author: Chelsea Crosby