Playing in the dirt

by | February 5, 2019 8:30 pm

Last Updated: February 3, 2019 at 1:13 pm

Many little girls used to make mudpies and play house. Dirt was moistened so it would stay together in the “pie” shape, pretending to cook and serve to real or imaginary friends. However, playing with dirt and water was a bit different for me.

I grew up in a gardening family. No, we didn’t flower garden very much. However, we grew enough vegetables to feed a small army. Corn, okra, tomatoes, yellow crookneck squash, zucchini squash, strawberries, potatoes, carrots, cucumbers, string beans, snow peas, cayenne peppers, bell peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, onions and garlic.

My mother called it playing in the dirt, and play in the dirt we did. I loved the feel of the earth between my fingers, working it to create a space for a new seedling or gently removing weeds which might choke out tender plants. After I became an adult, I kept a small vegetable and herb garden when space would permit.

When we moved out to the lake in June of 2017, I had hoped to soon put in a garden. My mind filled it with vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash and a variety of herbs. However, life and work got in the way. Spring of 2018 came and went with no garden.

As 2018 passed, we chose where to put the garden, but again, time and life interfered. Currently there is a downed tree we’re still working on cutting up laying across much of my garden’s selected area. Since we can’t fence it off yet, no garden this spring.

However, we’ve found a way to compensate. My wonderful husband loves to build things. Also to be noted, we have a lovely sun room, which was originally the back deck before past owners closed it in with a bank of windows.

My husband built planter boxes, with more on the way, so I can have an indoor herb garden in the sunroom. The windows get amazing afternoon sun.

With my new boxes in mind, I bought soil, seeds and natural fiber seed starter pots, which can be put in the soil along with the seedlings once they sprout. I chose old favorites I’ve grown many times: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil and lemon balm. I added two new faces to the group with chamomile and cilantro. If I can talk him into enough boxes, I’ll add a few more familiar favorites such as tarragon, winter savory, comfrey and stevia.

I’m already imagining the lovely teas I can drink and the wonderful foods my husband and I can season with the herbs I will grow in those planter boxes.

As soon as I have a free hour, I’ll be filling the planting flats. Then the waiting and watching for the first signs of green poking up out of the soil will begin. Until then, I’ll daydream of teas, seasonings and, of course, playing in the dirt.

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