Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dear Farming

Dear Farming,

After the development of The Farm (my backyard) this summer, I have come to realize how similar you are to a Parent's work!  We welcome children into our lives so that we can nurture them, care for them, and guide them to become productive members of our society.  Well, it seems as if growing veggies is not too far off from such challenging and never-ending obligations and tasks of Parenting.  Here's how.


First, you (parents) plan for having children.  You line your ducks in a row before sowing some Seeds (of Love).  (Well, even if you didn't plan it, the outcome is still pretty much the same; read on.)

 Pinterest-inspired: growing seeds in toilet paper rolls

Babies remain to be unseen while you (Mommies) carry them for nine months (5 to 10 days), all the while reading What to Expect books (internet gardening DIY sites) to plan for the rest of Babies' lives.  Excitement builds, and you cannot wait to meet your Little Ones.

Dear Son watering the newly planted seeds

Then you wait and wait and wait some more.  After Babies mature in Mommies' womb, they pop out, and seriously? There is not a more marvelous sight to see.   

 Houston, we have Seedlings!

You will also have prepared a space or nursery in which Infants will take residence.  You pick the room (plot), clean it out, and take a deep breath before it gets filled with Babies and their Stuff.  You think, this is where They will grow, dream, laugh, and play.

 View, from left and from right

After months (weeks) of prepping the walls (grounds) and furniture (structures), Babies take to their new home and settle in.  You take a step back, marvel at your work, and smile happily.  Now you long to see them grow up; you cannot wait to see Babies eat their first solid foods, crawl, take steps, run, and go to school.

 View, from left and from right

And Babies eventually do all that.  They continue to develop, become Children, and learn all about the world they live in.  You sometimes wonder how they got to be so big, from the tiny Infants that they were just Moments ago.  You tell yourself take it all in.  Now.

Left, tomatoes and cucumber; right, pumpkin taking over watermelon

You continue to marvel at their dazzling Selves.  You notice their pretty eyes and handsome stature.  You take lots of pictures to capture memories of their colorful Childhood.

Flowers, clockwise from top left: pumpkin, cucumbers, cilantro, green beans

Then during the middle school and high school years, things can get a little bit hairy.  Out-of-hand, if you will.  Teenagers start to eat away your monthly paycheck and grow like weeds.  Why, I JUST bought new clothes for Adolescent, and he's grown another two sizes!

Dear Husband is not happy about the invasion of his grilling space

They even start growing in places you'd be embarrassed to look...

 The Vines are taking over! The grill is surrounded!

But then you realize that Young Adults really are, just, growing well (maybe too well).  By now, they've weathered a few storms (for realz, with toppled cages and all), had a few broken hearts (or stems).  But as straggly and tousled as Teens look, they are still your Pride and Joy.

After a few megas-storms and insufficient cage rescues

And because you now see Children begin to bear some fruit of your love, you know that your hard work have and will continue to pay off, when they finally make some real contribution to society (in a few more weeks).

Baby fruit, clockwise from top left: pumpkin, Roma tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper

But what's even more surprising amidst this job called Parenting are the beautiful surprises that come with it.  Like inadvertently finding a gift your Tween handmade for you.  Or watching your Young Child bestow an act of kindness that makes him shine like a star.  Or experience the magic of your Kid feeling perfectly at ease outside her comfort zone.  Those are the moments when you know you've done something right.  You know that They will be just fine.

Left, a robin's egg under a tomato plant; right, a spider web glistening in morning dew

Pumpkin growing on brick patio

As you wait to see the outcome of your labor, you realize that everything you've put into Them will likely, at some point, come back to you.  Some mature earlier than others, and some, later.  Either way, you will reap the rewards of the work you put in and taste the sweetness of your fruit.

 Freshly-picked: left, spinach; right, green beans

 Cucumbers, harvest-ready


So, Dear Farming, as the old saying goes, "you reap what you sow."  Man, I had better have some good-tasting Grown Children in a decade or so.


P.S. Click on the photos to see larger images.  If you are reading from a feed, the photos and captions may be misaligned.  Please click through to website to see the original and intended formatting.


  1. Wow--nice job! We were away for the earlier part of the summer, so we just now planted some carrots and beans. Supposedly, you can still plant them in July. Hope to see some growth soon!

    1. Thanks, Asianmommy! I'm sure you can still harvest by fall so long as the weather cooperates, and it seems like we just got some BEAUTIFUL weather back! Good luck with your beans and carrots!

  2. Love the extended metaphor, Sandra! And it looks like you are going to have lots of yumminess this fall.

    I want to garden--I love the idea of starting the seeds in tp rolls. I always say "next year" then it's midsummer "next year" and too late so again with the "next year"!

    1. Hi, Rachel! I started this post writing about how I missed the spring break window of starting from seed and didn't actually plant til May... but then I scratched all that writing and just told a short, fun story instead. Every year I plan to seed in March/April, and every year I miss it. I can't believe this actually happened this year. Thanks so much for stopping by. And good luck to you "next year"! (I'm really hoping to get at least one pumpkin!)

  3. It's really impressive to see photos from start to finish (or middle of the race, assuming some of these veggies will continue to grow over the next few months). What a fun (and successful!) project.

    1. Thanks, Nilsa! From what it seems right now, I will have a TON of tomatoes. They are 98% still green, so I really hope that they actually mature to harvest. Not-so-succesfully, I had to rip out cabbages because they were being eaten by bugs, peppers and Swiss chard are not growing particularly well, and spinach and cilantro are already "done gone". But it's been so much fun! Except for the mosquitoes. I'll have to write about that another time. Thanks for taking a look at the too-many pics! :-)

  4. Amazing. That is dedication and hard work. Love it. I really want to do that myself one of these days...

    1. Thanks, Susi! It didn't seem like real hard work since it's something I love and wanted to do, and I couldn't believe the gratification that came from just going outside to check on the veggies daily. You can do it, Susi!

  5. Good tasting children? I'll settle for mostly well-behaved young men who have finally learned to use a napkin :)

    I love the photos of your garden! It looks like you'll have a bountiful harvest (a reward for all your hard work!)

    We have a couple of small plots going. Well, one now. The larger one that was further away from the house has experienced a breach of security - every sprout has disappeared by the next day and I finally found the hole in the bottom the chicken wire surround that I suspect rabbits are squeezing through (wascally wabbits!) Anyway, I quit watering that one. Maybe we can tear that fencing down and rebuild a stronger one for next year. (I had visions of wildflowers too, but the elk and rabbits simply thanked me for the buffet and left some waste just so I'd know they were there. Sigh.)

    1. Hi, Janna! It seems like I'll have a ton of tomatoes! As for the pumpkin, they keep forming and then yellowing and dying off. I'm not sure if I'll get any real ones at this point. But I know nothing about growing pumpkins, except for blocking off DH's area to grill. I'm actually really surprised that I haven't had any munchers--we do see deer and rabbits occasionally--since I don't have any fencing of property or veggie beds. Let's hope it stays that way! Well, I hope you get the fence up and have a better go at it next year!