last spring i wandered over to the annual plant sale in our neighborhood and grabbed a few herbs and vegetables for our yard. it was simple, quick, and satisfying to toss those little green plants in the dirt and watch them grow. even more satisfying was seeing the kids faces light up when they found a new ripe tomato or i sent them out to cut some cilantro for homemade salsa.
our new home has no yard. well, we have concrete. a lot of concrete and a little fake grass. but i'm longing to get my hands dirty, dig up some dirt and plant some roots. not just for myself, but for my kids as well. a few weeks ago, william and i planted some seeds. carrots, beets, radishes, a handful of herbs, tomatoes, and wildflowers. last week we built our raised bed and this week we're planting those seedlings. this is my first time with a raised bed and only my second time attempting to grow anything out of doors so i'm cautiously optimistic about how everything will turn out.
building this garden has been a lesson in patience and letting go of perfection. things i struggle with on a daily basis. 'ok william, 4 seeds in this little pot.' 'no, just four' 'now don't make a mess with the dirt' 'careful' 'watch out'. i'd be lying if i said everything went perfectly (we actually killed 2 sets of seedlings from dehydration, too much watering, and too much *love from charlotte. *touching everything) but what i learned the 3rd time around was that this doesn't have to be perfect. yes, i want to see our garden flourish. i want to reach in to the dirt and pull out a carrot. i want my children to appreciate where their food comes from and how it's grown.
but this garden is so much more than that. it's the long, slow, patient process of gently tucking these seeds in the soil, carefully watering them, watching them pop up, grow and turn green. it's not unlike raising children. give them space, patience, room to grow. food, water, sun, is all anyone really needs. that and a little extra loving. i find it fitting that we ended up planting seeds 3 times this spring. 3 tries, 3 kids, 3 chances to learn something new about gardening, about myself, about my children. and while it may seem a bit annoying and frustrating and redundant to me to have to go back and redo all that planting we did before, the children don't tire of it.
william and charlotte (but mostly william) could plant seeds all day long. they're so excited to drop those little seeds in to the dirt, cover them up and sprinkle on some water. they ask countless times each day if they've sprouted yet 'are they growing?!' and each morning check if the soil is dry. the level of excitement for these little seedlings, i imagine, is nothing compared to the massive surprise they're going to get when they reach down and pull up on those green tufts to find a beet or a carrot or a radish.
letting these seedlings find their roots and then transferring them to something larger to let them flourish ... gosh i just can't stop thinking of how similar it is to raising children. keeping a close eye on them while they're little then slowly taking steps back to allow them more space to grow and learn? that's what it's all about. it's in that space where we can learn so much about ourselves, our children, and our gardens.