get outdoors! go gardening

jake the gardener

“let’s go water the garden!”  those are the words uttered by my almost 3 year old son, jake, pretty much daily. he loves to water the garden and loves to squat down and see the fruits of our labor. a couple of months ago, my wife and i had been wanting to start a garden in our backyard but we didn’t really have space. the only space we had was an area about 9′ x 12′ behind the garage. it seemed like the most logical place but it was already home to a pile of stuff i don’t use that often so who would want to disturb that. if it’s not in your way, don’t move it always say (not really, but i’m thinking on the fly).

so about 6 weeks ago, i picked an especially warm saturday and cleared the area, turned over the soil, got a blister, and then went to the local nursery and bought 7 bags of organic soil to mix into the existing soil. i was hoping jake would like the idea and why wouldn’t he; it’s outside and it’s dirt. needless to say, he was right there when i was planting the seeds and he was putting his own seeds down. he didn’t really seem to get the concept of 2″ apart even after i repeated 6 or 7 times. at what age can they start to read a tape measure or even eyeball????

so there we were one saturday, on our hands and knees planting seeds and plants. jake was proud to show me how his pants got dirty and he also informed me that they are his “gardening pants”. we planted an herb garden consisting of basil, chives, parsley (flat leaf, not the denny’s kind), arugula, dill, thyme and a few variety of beans including edamame (which we are really excited for). we also planted some zucchini, cucmbers, and tomatoes. afterwards we faithfully watered morning and evening for a couple of weeks and slowly tapered back the watering.

within the last two weeks, we’ve really begun seeing things grow. the zuchinni has already started blossoming flowers and small zucchini, and the tomato plants are almost two feet high. it’s pretty fullfilling to see jake run to show people the garden. last night, when his uncle seth came over, we started to walk outside and jake made it very clear to me that “i will show him, don’t you show him” meaning he didn’t want me showing the garden to uncle seth. jake wanted to be the first one there and happily ran into the backyard. at dinner, jake explained to uncle seth that we planted seeds and “rugla”, or as we adults prefer to call it, arugula.

zucchini flower
zucchini flower

at the beginning of this article i had intended to write about how to start a garden, what kinds of vegetable to grow, etc. but i somehow got off on the tangent of starting the garden with jake. there’s already a million resources on the internet for that sort of stuff anyway. maybe the point of gardening isn’t really about growing the vegetables after all. maybe it’s more about being outside, tilling the land, and sharing the experience with close family. maybe it’s about playing in the dirt for the afternoon with your son named jake. whatever motivates you or the reasons you may have, it’s time to get outdoors and start that garden…or weed it as is my case.

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