Blood, Sweat, Tears…and Radishes

Gardening is not for quitters. Especially during the first year, a garden will test you.  It will push you to your limit.  It demands your time, your energy, your problem-solving skills.  I’m not talking about the cute little pot of tomatoes people grow on patios or the 2×4 foot raised garden box.  Those are good things, don’t get me wrong, and any effort to produce one’s own food should be applauded, but a pot or two is mostly maintenance-free fun and doesn’t compare to our 3,500 square foot garden.  The garden we are growing, the hey-let’s-try-and-grow-all-our-own-veggies garden, the why-did-we-start-out-so-big garden, the that-grass-was-here-first-and-wants-its-land-back garden, our garden has called for my literal blood, sweat and tears before we even saw the first seedling sprout.

Would it surprise you then to hear that I love my garden? That I’m already thinking how I’ll expand it for next year?  I love working in it, seeing the plants grow and produce. WP_20160705_12_57_16_Pro And now that it’s covered with mulch and looking a bit better, I’m proud of my garden.  Is it still full of grass and weeds?  Yep.  Is it hopelessly patchy where some seeds didn’t sprout?  You betcha.  Are the rows wandering and uneven?  Totally.  Will passersby slow down and take pictures out their car windows like they do with Helga, our chicken mailbox?  Doubtful.  But I still love it.  The kids and I planted it together, so it’s not perfect.  WP_20160705_13_01_47_ProAnd I am far from a gifted gardener.  I have no green thumb.  I am a novice with much to learn.  I have to grunt and claw my way through this process of growing food, but I still find it fascinating, fulfilling, satisfying and spiritual.WP_20160705_12_56_12_Pro

We finally got this beast of a garden covered with the hay/manure mixture from the barn and surrounding barnyard that wintered our sheep and cows. Before we accomplished this, we had grass thriving right along with our fragile seedlings.

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Wow, this is really embarrassing.  But yes, that is an actual garden, not just a patchy lawn.

It took a long time to clean out the whole barnyard and spread it on top of those weeds and around each of our plants.  WP_20160705_12_55_26_ProWe just barely finished and now we see grass poking up through the mulch.  Much less grass, to be sure, and much more manageable.  Each day this week, my morning project will be weeding a section of the garden.  If I wait until afternoon, the sun is so hot and I can feel it beating down on me.  Morning weeding is actually very pleasant, with mourning doves calling, ducks splashing, and a gentle breeze stirring.

 

This morning I was weeding my third row of carrots, while Elijah is a few rows down weeding beets until he decides he wants to check the radishes. He begins harvesting the larger radishes and thank goodness for them.WP_20160705_09_54_02_Pro  Radishes are as relentless as weeds and are neither hindered by them, nor any other shortcomings of the gardener.  Elijah pulled up a healthy handful of the spicy, round roots.

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My happy, pajama’d harvester! 🙂

Radishes are about the easiest thing to grow, and provide as close to instant-reward as it gets in the agriculture world, therefore they are the perfect vegetable to grow to get a group of kids excited about gardening.  Think you don’t like radishes?  I think you’re wrong.  You love radishes, you just don’t know it yet.  Grow some, you still have plenty of time this year.  Once you harvest, slice up your radishes, sauté them in some butter until they are soft and sprinkle on salt and pepper. WP_20160705_17_27_59_Pro Mmmm, you’ll be glad you grew some!  Our radish tops don’t go to waste, either.  The bunnies were delighted to receive a delicious snack after I cut and washed our first garden harvest, mere weeks after planting the seeds!WP_20160705_12_44_52_Pro

 

Becca

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2 thoughts on “Blood, Sweat, Tears…and Radishes

  1. Good job on the blog and the garden! Wonderful article and great pictures. Love the bunny picture! So much hard work, but it is starting to produce. How exciting! Good job on harvesting radishes, Elijah. Looks tasty!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It is hard work, but I think that’s why the harvesting is such a reward. You know exactly what it cost to produce that food!

      Like

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