On a hot and early afternoon of the 4th of July, I found myself pacing in the yard. I was telling myself, “I need manure! Manure! Manure; where can a get a bunch of manure.” I was transplanting seedlings and I was in a rush.

My “nicely spaced garden” was getting a bit more crowded. I had bought more seeds and had  planted them a few weeks before. The seeds grew and I needed more space to put the seedlings. I weeded the night before and I was trying to find room for the mammoth sunflowers, watermelon and zucchini seedlings.

When I planted the garden this year I tilled the soil down 6″ and made mounds with the loose dirt. I planted 3 seeds per hill and gave each hill its space. I wanted to make several more mounds for my new seedlings and needed some dirt. The mounds were soft, but the rest of the garden was very hard.  I dug out enough for one mound from the garden, leaving a hole in its spot. I didn’t want a trench running through my garden but needed dirt for the mounds. The manure would have been perfect.

I was in a rush because we had friends coming over and I needed to go to the store to get supplies to grill and I needed to get some POTTING SOIL. Yeah, I was very impatient. I could have waited a day…But I wanted it done that day. I dug up more soil from the garden and mixed it with the potting soil to make the mounds. From what I initially planted, my number of mounds nearly doubled to over thrity.

We had a bunch of neighborhood kids over that day. Most of the kids know they can come over and help themselves to our food. We had a 5 pound bag of organic oranges on the counter. They helped themselves to the oranges. I told them to eat them outside at the picnic table, then when they were done they had to throw the orange peels into the compost. They grabbed  butter knifes to cut up the oranges and walked out the door.

I was doing garden work when one of the girls went into the house and grabbed her 3rd orange. She came back out and asked me about the garden. I proudly walked her through our plants telling her what everything was. She knew what the raspberries were and wanted to pick some. I told her they will be ripe in a week. She ran off and said “I can’t wait to come back to eat all this good food!”

Our garden is looking good. I am fighting off the crabgrass, weeding and using what we get from the yard. I have made several jars of strawberry jam and dried two quarts of medicinal herbs: chamomile and lemon balm. I have a long list of garden work to do. One thing on that list that is new to me is canning grape leaves. There are challenges and it takes discipline to work out in the yard everyday; but I am enjoying gardening more and more every year. As far as the 5 pound bag of organic oranges go…the pack of wild neighborhood kids devoured them all.


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