Thoughts on Gardening and Motherhood

Today, in honor of Mother’s Day we bring you a guest post reflecting on gardening and motherhood from Madison, WI:

Maya’s thoughts about the planting and tending and finally the emergence of her garlic bulb, could, with just a few variations in words, just as well describe the gestation and birth of a child, or the growth from infancy through childhood to adulthood. Parenting could easily be described as dud-like, irregular watering and just-don’t-have-what-it-takes or something.

The Vertical Porch Farm

So, it seemed appropriate to respond to this lovely garden blog on Mother’s Day. For many years, Mother’s Day morning meant being served breakfast in bed by my family and handmade cards from my daughters. Mother’s Day afternoon was the day I set aside to plant all my window boxes with flowers and to move perennials hither and thither in the garden. I still plan to do that this year, but new ventures are afoot. Our yard is quite shady, and the soil potentially harbors lead particles, so I have never felt comfortable growing food directly in the soil. But last year I planted tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and basil in pots and set them in the sunniest spots and was quite pleased with how things turned out.

This year I wanted to increase the amount of food we could grow, and in fact, I decided to take the idea to new heights by pursuing vertical gardening. This involved replacing a bench we rarely used, by recycling its woodens slats into a boxed raised bed. We then installed window boxes up the wall against which the bench had sat and underneath the traditional flower boxes. These will be used for arugula and spinach and lettuce.

The Accommodating and Patient Husband

Then, my imagination, still unchecked, decided to remove a huge old honeysuckle tree, which was really only attractive when it bloomed briefly in May, although its berries did feed the birds and its bulk did shade the house from the late afternoon sun. Still, I moved forward with this idea and my accommodating husband spent three weekends cutting off branches and hauling them away, and then digging out the roots, cutting the roots, digging out more roots. Finally, we were able to topple the tree. But then we had about a 500-pound stump to deal with. What to do? The only recourse we had was to ask a friend to buzz it into pieces with his chainsaw. This was done and the tree was hauled away to make room for a PEACH TREE!

This involved internet research on which variety was hardy enough for the Wisconsin climate. We settled on one called McKay and last weekend made a trip through the countryside to a small town to pick one up at the nursery which sold them. I felt like we were meeting a new member of our family. Although I may not see the peaches for three or four years, we now have much more sun in our backyard, which will be better for all the vegetables planted in the pots.

The Baby Peach Tree!

So, I relate this to you all, just to share, that gardens grow not only food, but they grow ideas and they grow solutions to problems and they grow your horizons. But, actually, I can see from these blog postings that you probably know that already. Thanks for sharing your stories and reading mine.

-fek, mother of klc

Other guest bloggers are welcome. Please get in touch with us if you have thoughts on growing food that you’d like to share.


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