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Reconnecting with mother nature – a family affair, pt 2


Let the planting begin!  Kristel, our garden coach, paid us another visit; this time, armed with shovels and rakes and such.  She meant business today.  It was a sunny saturday in early June.  The kids and I had just come from participating in the Kidney Festival, a health fair which focuses on issues affecting people of color.  Anyway, I digress.

First order of business, prepare the soil.  We dug, poked, proded, and dug some more.  We saw spiders, and worms, and grubs (oh no!).  Kristel said the worms were some of the largest she’s seen – they were pretty big.  Playing in the dirt was second-nature for the younger children but Johnae, my oldest, wasn’t having it!  She flinched and jumped at every creepy crawly (what a drama queen).  We tossed the grass clumps to the corner of the yard for use later in a compost bin.  We also separated out dandelion roots for the tea I make.  We mixed the free, nutrient rich dirt with our yard dirt (which Kristel commented was pretty healthy looking on its own) and added some composted steer manure.  This process took a couple of hours.  So when it was time for Kristel to depart for another committment, we hadn’t planted any seeds.

Kristel explained where to plant what and how.  For instance, she suggested that the greens be planted behind the tomato plants cause they didn’t need full sun.  She also said that the cucumbers should be planted at the top of volcano-like mounds so that water will travel deeply.  We strategized on locations and methodology.  Then it was up to me and the family to execute.  We drank water, said our thank yous and goodbyes to Kristel.  Then it was time for a break!  We went in the house and had tuna salad sandwiches and more water.  But when it was time to head back outside, I found myself… by myself!  The kids had abandonded the effort for now.  I didn’t blame them, I wanted the break to last for the rest of the day and into the evening – but I pressed on.  I finished the first bed; planting cucumbers, mustard greens, tomatoes, cabbage, and romaine lettuce – all before the sun went down.  I still had one more bed to start and complete.  Sunday would be another long day.

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