In the Garden: Serf’s Up!

Friday was Field Day at the kids’ school, during which they ran and jumped and threw softballs and kicked shoes and waddled around in potato sacks with all the other little Lutheran schoolchildren in the city. Good fun.

Oh my goodness. So much cute.

Field Day Friday, however, should not be confused with the unofficially dubbed Field (Hand) Day Saturday that followed it over at our family co-op garden, during which we planted all the seeds and seedlings we’d been saving until after the last frost.

In Michigan, of course, “after the last frost” is always an elusive date. Two years ago, we had a killing frost on June 2, and, although we were disappointed to see our baby plants shrivel up the next day, we weren’t completely nonplussed. These things happen when you live in a cantankerous climate zone. Still, we’re usually pretty safe if we wait until Memorial Day Weekend — so that’s what we do. Saturday before Memorial Day has become our traditional family day for putting in the garden . . .

Sweet green bell peppers and spicy hot jalapeno peppers.
Bush beans. Pole beans.

garden 1

Cucumbers. Yellow summer squash. Dill. Basil.

garden 2

Three kinds of tomatoes. Zucchini. Eggplant. Cabbage.

garden 3

I’m getting hungry just thinking about the tasty veggies that will be coming our way over the next couple of months.

We sure did work like serfs to get them in the ground, though. (Hence the title of this blog post. Did you like that?)

First, Dad went through once more with the tiller to fluff up the soil and cut down the weeds. I hilled potatoes while he worked, partly to kill time and partly to make sure that my back would be good and sore in the morning. (Mission accomplished. I had ibuprofen for breakfast today.)

Then we got out our sticks, string, yardstick, and hand trowels and got to work rehoming all our baby plants — some store bought, some home grown.

garden 4

The fun begins.

When the seedlings were all in, we planted onion sets and sunflower seeds. We left half a row open for red cabbage and a couple of rows for sweet corn (both to go in a little later), but by the middle of the afternoon, every other available spot in the garden was claimed.

garden 5

Halfway done, or thereabouts.

After planting, we wet down the entire garden, hauling watering cans out one by one from the furthest spot in the yard the hoses will reach.

garden 6

This . . . times about fifty.

Finally, I put my back to the test once more, mulching pepper plants until I ran out of grass clippings. (We like to use grass clippings for mulch — they’re readily available, help the plants stay warm on chilly evenings, hold in moisture, keep the weeds at bay, and dry out pretty quickly into hay.)

All in all, it was a very good day.

It was such a good day that, before it was even all over, my five-year-old fell asleep face down on the warm cement in the driveway.

garden 7

This photo was taken about an hour before the “fell asleep face down on the driveway” moment that seems destined to go down in the annals of family history. As you can see, she’s already showing signs of contented fatigue.

The work of the garden has just begun, of course, but we’re off to a strong start.

garden 8

Inching closer to her historic moment — and yes, someone’s getting a shampoo later!

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