Reaping what you sow

My garden, like so much of my life, is kind of a functional hot mess.

We are moving into the harvesting part of the summer, the part when I mostly don’t care about weeds anymore, when every time I go outside I come in with a bucket of food. It’s still slow, but it’s heating up. It’s great but also kind of mundane – the “growing food from nothing but a seed” part feels magical and delicate, this part feels…a bit like a chore.

Mulberries are always among the first things to come in in our yard. We have a decent-sized tree, and every year I think “I’m going to make a mulberry pie,” and every year, I don’t. The kids like to eat the mulberries straight from the source and I have a sneaking suspicion they would not like a pie, so why put in the effort and the sugar?

Mulberries for days

Other than mulberries, I’ve harvested spinach and lettuce a few times. This is my first year for lettuce and I’m very happy with it. I know the spinach is going to stop growing soon, I have no idea how long I’ll be able to keep getting lettuce. Our strawberries, too, have been popping out, a few every day. I have a dream of a box overflowing with strawberries, but for whatever reason, getting them to take over is slow going.

Come on, strawberries, take over!!

I also just had to get a tire fixed (again!!) and brought the old one home and am thinking about making a new tire planter for strawberries. Strawberries everywhere!

Soon, it will be blueberry season, also known as the time of the summer where I wonder if I should get a deep freezer. Sugar snap peas, carrots, cucumbers, beets, Brussels sprouts, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, potatoes; these are all on the verge of being edible. I put in garlic and grapes and celery and leeks but have no idea what to expect for any of that – it’s growing, but will it flower and fruit? The raspberry bushes I put in last year are getting big but may not produce still, and the honey crisp apple tree (!!!!) that my husband got me for Mother’s Day is probably not going to give me apples for another year or two. Our pear tree and barely-edible apple tree have fruit on them, but they won’t be ripe for months and months.

So, so many blueberries. We have two big bushes and they produce like crazy.
I’ve never grown sugar snap peas before. I’m a little overwhelmed, in a good way.

In theory, all this food saves us money on groceries, and it very well could. It’s hard for me to quantify what I get out of the garden, and how it affects the bill, because regardless of whether I eat two leaves or fifty of lettuce, I still want six pounds of chocolate afterward.

Another hot mess of a box.

Although I do almost everything while keeping an eye on money, I also don’t garden primarily to get rich (good thing, because it’s not getting me there). I do it because it make me feel like a sorceress, making food out of nothing. I do it because I want my kids to connect to their food sources, and because they (in addition to myself) are more likely to swallow something with vitamins in it if they pick it themselves. I do it because we are all happier and healthier if we spend some time working and playing outside.

I love seeing and hearing about other people’s gardens – what’s coming up for you?

4 thoughts on “Reaping what you sow”

  1. I’m in awe of your garden! We live in a north facing apartment right now (i.e., next to no sunlight). I tried to grow strawberries on the balcony in a planter anyway and they’re doing just okay. My avocado plant is out there and doing its thing, but I suspect it would also like more direct sunshine. On the other hand, my aerogarden is going nuts with bell peppers! I’m dreaming of having a bigger garden next summer in the new house. Until then…


    1. Peppers is the thing I have the most trouble with. This year, I have four plants that seem not to have died, but I think in the past four years, I’ve picked four peppers total. I’m the kind of person who takes small steps – the first year, all I had was a ton of pumpkins!


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