Monday, May 27, 2013

8000 Things NOT To Do: How Does Your Garden Grow?

This post is part of a series of posts entitled, “I Don’t Know What To Do, But Here are 8000 Things NOT To Do.” This is what my husband suggested as a title for my blog, so I believe it must be a fitting title for this series of posts. I will add to the series as relevant events occur. And believe me—they will. 

Here is one more thing NOT to do:
Today we planted a garden. 

Yes, it’s the end of May—sort of late for planting a garden. But Rosemary’s New Year’s Resolution (you can read about mine here) was to plant a garden, and we’ve been busy with ball and ballet and work and life and stuff, and it’s rained a lot, and sometimes it has been cold outside, and we had “technical issues” with our tiller, and had to find time to make a trip to Lowes, and…well,  anyway, the fledgling plants and seeds are out there in the dirt. 

Say prayers that they don’t get trampled before we build a little fence. My kids like to run first, think later.

Many earthworms were probably harmed in the planting process. Since Rosemary learned about compost heaps in her first grade class, the girls have their own “compost heap” going (mostly scraps of orange and vegetable peels they won’t let me throw out because they’re working on making their own dirt in a very unscientific, hoarder-like manner). So every time we unearthed a worm, somebody squealed with glee, pulled the worm out of the perfectly fine dirt in the garden, and ran across the yard to the bucket that is supposed to be the compost heap. I guess there are enough worms left in the dirt to aerate the garden. I guess. 

Anyway, it was supposed to be a fun family experience, and we’ve been looking forward to it since January. There have been weeks of planning and arguing and negotiating—what should go in the garden, how much of what, debate over flowers vs. vegetables…But when the reality of us, some shovels, seeds, and a spade actually happened, I left my husband with the girls to get things started. I sat down and drank a cup of tea. I checked my email. I put away the dishes in the dishwasher. Today is Memorial Day. I was having a holiday. And he’s the one of us who doesn’t actually kill plants. I figured…he’s GOT this.

And for awhile, he DID. He’s patient. Oh, he’s patient. He’s one of the most patient people I’ve ever met. I mean, he teaches MIDDLE SCHOOL. (Nuff said.) But by the time I got out there, he wasn’t patient. He was doing that thing that so many of us do where we just want the kids to go somewhere ELSE and let us do the thing we just want to do.
And he wasn’t able to think of things for them to do, so they were coming up with their own things to do. They were stepping all through the garden, nearly trampling the plants, reaching for earthworms, digging big holes, grabbing the spade out of each other’s hands, fighting over the seed packets. They were playing in the garden; he was planting the garden.

And it was starting to rain.
By the time I got out there and realized what was going on, I felt pretty guilty. And I realized that what would be best for everyone would be for the garden to be finished. D.J. and I planted quickly as we could, and I started making up little jobs for the girls to do to keep them occupied. I let them dig where we weren’t ready to plant. I had them carry dirt. I sent them on errands to throw things away. The faster we could get the garden planted, the better.

By the time we finished, we were all happy. Because it was finished. We were happy because we had planted a garden. We were happy we could stop planting a garden, too. 

I know we aren't supposed to admit this sort of thing after these life-changing, memorable family experiences, but I sure hope it’s more fun watching it grow than it was to plant.

Has you ever tried to do something fun with your kids that just ended up being a big stressful mess? Drop me a line!

photo credit: Chiot's Run via photopin cc