Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A gardening writer finds gems in the soil

When the garden is put to bed but four persevering plants continue toward their production goal, I stand in awe of their insistence in fulfilling their purpose. I planted broccoli, brusel sprouts and bok choi in late August. Because of shading from the Tulip Poplar trees in the back yard, the plants grew slowly until late October when the trees dropped their leaves. I feared our early frosts would kill them. 

Until Sunday. Jim decided to till the garden so I could put the winter coat of cardboard, manure and straw on the garden in preparation for trying lasagna gardening next year.  Before he tilled them under, I wanted to check the remaining plants. The broccoli looked healthy and happy so I asked him to till around them. The weather report said we would be having a week of unseasonably warm temperatures; maybe we would still get some nice, round broccoli to enjoy.  

All four plants have small broccoli heads. The largest is presently the size of an apple. It rained last night and we’re expecting more rain today, so we’ll have at least some to harvest. Now I have an unexpected morning gardening task, to check on their progress.

Just when I thought the gardening was over, a gem delights me.

As I begin a new writing routine this week to devote more time and energy to my fiction writing, I’m also mindful of the lesson the plants teach me. Don’t give up. Maybe, like them, I just need longer than usual to grow into my potential as a fiction writer.

I also have a blooming African violet on my desk to remind me of the importance of persistence. After years of African violet failures, I finally learned to water it from the bottom. Sometimes reaching a goal requires both time and a new approach. 

Then there’s last year’s poinsettia, which is transforming from green to red. Yes, you can nurse them throughout the year and they’ll come back red. By Christmas time? I’m not sure but I’ll let you know. Maybe we’ll have a red poinsettia on our table along with fresh broccoli salad to eat as we give thanks for the lessons the garden continues to teach us.

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