"You will be a better mom because you are a theologian, and a better theologian because you are a mom."

Is it true? In this blog, I explore the interplay and intersection of motherhood and theologianhood.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gardening Works

Now that I'm of the landed class, I decided that I should start a garden. Jeff wasn't that enthusiastic about my project, but he was willing to let me give it a try. Being completely unexperienced in gardening, I decided to rely simply on my German peasant-farmer background (which my brother claims is genetic and gives us the ability to do things we never actually learned) and on the instructions on the back of seed packets and soil bags.

I picked a small plot of space and threw down the soil I'd bought (as an Iowan, I was skeptical that the Garden State's reddish soil could have the kind of nutrients I was looking for). Then I saw that the soil was supposed to be mixed 50-50 with native soil. So then I tried to break up the grass below where I'd thrown soil. All of this I did while watching the two girls and taking numerous potty/drink breaks for them. By the time I got to the plant the seed part, I was too tired to figure out the inches apart thing, and I just kind of tossed down the seeds wherever.

When plants actually started growing (much to my surprise) I wasn't really sure what was what, since I hadn't made any record of where or what I'd planted. Fortunately, my buddy Rob showed up and graciously identified the plants (based on seed packets and what the plants looked like) and did a little rearranging. Before he and Lou took off, he made me a handy little map of my garden.

We were gone for a week or so, and when I came back, the plants were huge - especially the zucchini. I'll be honest, I don't REALLY like zucchini all that much, just a little bit, so I was a little surprised to see those plants taking over my small plot. Obviously, in case you haven't guessed, I planted way too many different things for such a small area. Apparently my German peasant-farmer background didn't clue me in on plant spacing.

Earlier this week I bought three cucumbers at the store, only to come home and look in my garden and see about six or so. They seem to grow huge overnight. To be honest, I don't like cucumbers all that much either. Ok, they're better than zucchini, but eating them every single night is getting a little old. Soon the tomatoes will probably start in, and to be honest, I don't really like tomoatoes all that much either. So you might wonder why I planted all these... we do actually consume zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers, so that's what I was thinking. But I'm really looking forward to the onions, green onions, carrots, and broccoli.

After finding two enormous zucchinis in the garden today, we decided to uproot a couple of those plants. They were overshadowing/killing my cilantro (which I definitely need for guacamole), and like I said, we just don't need that many zucchini.

I told Jeff that so long as the garden saved us at least $50, we would break even, and I'd consider it a success. I think we're already coming close to that, when you throw in the mint, basil, sage, and thyme plants on the front porch. So I guess gardening is kind of a success, even if I didn't have any clue how to do it, and did a pretty bad job of planting. God can make things grow, even when our knowledge is insufficient. Ahh, such is life... just like my garden... our works do sometimes bear fruit (or vegetables) because God takes our good intentions and effort and makes up for what is lacking in us!


Clara said...

You're more ambitious than I! I'm also figuring out this yard care thing, but my main focus has been on 1) figuring out what plants are already *in* our yard, 2) pulling a few weeds and cutting back some things that are taking over, 3) growing some herbs. I love cooking with fresh herbs, but you really can spend a fortune on them if you buy them in those little plastic containers. And I was informed that they (some, at least) are quite easy to grow.

The basil (2 varieties!) went crazy with minimal tending from me, so we've had some lovely pestos and salads and basil vinaigrettes. The mint is hearty enough to enhance fruit salads and summer cocktails, (but my mother warned that it'll take over the yard if you let it, so the mint pot is quarantined away from the rest of the yard.) The tarragon, rosemary and oregano are still sub-prime, but robust enough to offer a few clippings for an omelette or stew. Thyme and chives still pre-harvest but they're not dead or wilted so I think we'll get there.

Since Mathew's getting somewhat interested in French cooking (which is funny, because he never really cooked for the first 2 1/2 years of our marriage, but the refurbed kitchen, along with watching the Food Network, got him excited about it), it's nice to have the fresh herbs. A lot of these French recipes call for small sprigs of about four different herbs. Not really feasible if you don't have them in your yard.

Trinita said...

Slice the zucchini in thick diagonal slices, toss it with olive oil, and grill it. Sprinkle with kosher salt and maybe some fresh dill. You will like it.