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The love — and effort — of gardening

Well, I finally did it — working with my husband, Mike, I managed to get my garden fully planted.

Mike did the hard part. He tilled the soil, fighting through layers of clay and sandstone to provide a bed of fresh soil.

After he finished, I made rows and planted the sets, seeds and starts that we had purchased. He followed along, caging the tomato plants and straightening up my crooked progress.

At the end of the day last weekend, we both were worn out. We believe it will all be worth it, though, when we harvest those first crops.

In a matter of days, we already have one cherry tomato plant that is producing little round, green fruits. When they ripen, they will be sweet and the color of chocolate. Other tomato varieties are already in bloom as well. And, we have seen the first signs of lettuce leaves and radish tops poking through the soil.

Hopefully, we won’t have too many furry visitors to our patch in the backyard. Mike also spent a few hours making sure our fence was secure, patching some small holes left from last year’s invaders and propping up the top so that deer will be discouraged. A further effort toward that end included the addition of solar lights and pinwheels that spin and flash in the dark. when deer are most likely to hop in and help themselves.

We look forward to the onions, green and red peppers, zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, beets, leafy greens and other produce we will enjoy raw and cooked in our favorite dishes. We also like to share our harvest with our friends and neighbors.

For me, gardening is a labor of love. It’s a family tradition that I was raised on, taught by my dad and my uncles. Both of my brothers enjoy raising their own food as well.

Although I got an even later start than usual, I am hopeful that our efforts will pay off. I am eager to watch my plants grow, and I will try all the tricks I know to protect them from the neighborhood critters. I’ll keep you posted,

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