Dirt Under My Nails

The weekend before the long weekend, I spent in the garden preparing for planting day. There were weeds to pull. The soil needed to be turned and one of the three vegetable beds needed to be topped up with soil.

It felt good to be back in the garden with the familiar feeling of soil in my hands and dirt under my nails. If I was to be honest, of all the pleasures there are in my life, the garden is where I feel most at peace.

My feathered friends watching from the trees above were quite pleased with the turning of the soil. I quickly became popular with them as they came to each bed after it was cleaned. They seem to be aware that we won’t hurt them and they worked along digging the fresh-turned soil, picking up bugs and seeds.

I had tried to grow my vegetable plants in the house again like I did last year. But this year was not the success I had last year. School kept me very busy which resulted in me not giving them the attention they needed. The end results included many shopping trips to the garden center to buy plants and seeds.

Like many Canadians, I look forward to May 24th, our first long weekend to kick off Summer. It’s our official start to garden season and like the rest, I was in the garden.

When I headed up to the cottage the car was packed with the plants I had shopped for. I also brought up many seed packages.

My reading had brought to my attention that many of the seeds I was trying to get started at home actually did better by starting them in the garden. I also learned that most of the local farmers did their crops this way and if it worked for the farmers, it just might work for me.

Baby vegetable plants in their growing space

Working in the gardens brought out the neighbors. It was interesting to learn who was planting what and who else was adding garden beds this year. We discussed the successes and failures of last year and the adventures of this year. After a couple hours of planting and visiting, I had a feeling of satisfaction that the garden was started.

The next morning, I came out to the garden to find one pepper plant dug up and laying on its side. There also was a hole where the watermelon seeds had been planted. The pepper plant was unharmed, but the watermelon seeds were gone.

That morning I replanted the pepper plant and added more watermelon seeds.

The next morning, I checked the garden again and the pepper plant was dug up, yes the same one, and the watermelon seeds were gone again. Only this time there had been a witness to the acts.

Our neighbor had been sitting on his deck and he watched Momma Dove and her little ones hanging out in the garden. She had no interest in the other seeds planted but they liked the watermelon seed. As for the pepper plant, it was a Mr. Squirrel. For some reason, he pulled up the same plant, only that one, not touching the other eleven planted with it.

Again I replanted the pepper planted and added the rest of the package of watermelon seeds.

The following morning the pepper plant was in its place. As for the watermelon seeds, the hole was bigger and not a seed was to be found. I’ve given in now and went back to the garden center and will be planting watermelon plants this year.

As for the other seeds, so far we have green and yellow beans and butternut squash coming up.

I decreased the amount of zucchini and tomatoes we planted this year and added more pepper plants. And I’m trying my luck again with cucumbers, which we lost last year. A week of really hot weather killed them off.

As for the non-edible gardens, it was lovely to see the front garden full of Daffodils when I pulled in. We had planted them two Summers ago along with our Rhododendrons which were also in bloom this past two weeks.

Our Daffodils and Rhododendrons are in bloom.

This past weekend I was also able to work on other small gardens. I moved the lilac trees we planted last year to make room for the Warriors Grapevines that will be going in and we dug a five-foot circle for the perennial garden going in this coming weekend.

When I wasn’t digging or planting, I spent a lot of time with my drawing boards designing a couple of other gardens and a mural that is going to get painted this year with the Warrior’s help.

My plan for this Summer, I guess you have figured it out, is to garden. School will be finished in a few weeks. After two long years of working full-time, Covid, and going to school, I plan to reward myself with more gardens.

I know that sounds like more work, which it is. But the garden is after all the place that gives me peace and pleasure. It is also the place where I enjoy spending time with my neighbors. It is something that gives beauty to all who view them and food to the bees, the butterflies, and the hummingbirds. With all that being said, how can I not plant more gardens?

12 thoughts on “Dirt Under My Nails

  1. Gardening is one of the best pastimes and a very healthy practice not only for the fresh home grown vegetables and fruits you obtain from it but even more important as I see it the psychological benefit that is derived by the planting, and nurturing growing process, that gives one a sense of getting your hands into something so basic to living, which God intended since the beginning for us to do! And as they say its good therapy which we all need after the insanity of the last two years!

    “29Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit contains seed. They will be yours for food. 30And to every beast of the earth and every bird of the air and every creature that crawls upon the earth—everything that has the breath of life in it—I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.” Genesis 1:29-30

    That does mean sharing with the squirrels as I see it and I do too! I spend well over a few thousand dollars a year just on bird seed, sunflower seeds and suet along with peanuts to try and teach those little animals, that I can help them if they help me too; trying to strike a balance isn’t always easy though, but persistence or determination usually resolves these issues. I had a young tree that I raised from a seedling a couple of years ago that had done fine right where it was, but, then this year a squirrel got interested when the buds were about to bloom and ate all of them! That was shocking and bothered me; so I rushed out and got some fine mess barrier screening at the home center and corralled the tree so that while its secondary buds would be surging to save the itself and shoot out to bloom in just days; which actually would be its only hope to survive the heat and season with enough leaf cover.
    The plan worked because the tree is really happy with plenty of leaf coverage now and I’ve still got it screened for a while yet, to let it do some serious growing as I tend to it; without any critters running up and down its small trunk and narrow branches that could break. Meanwhile the squirrels that look for me regularly and trust me to have those treats are doing well too; and behaving!

    Have fun and enjoy that garden it looks like you’re off to a great start with it and a good season coming! Amen.

    God bless.

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    1. Thank you. I too would have rushed out to save the tree too. I actually plant more than needed to provide for the bird, squirrels and rabbits, and the neighbors too. I have always done that. It seems to work for all of us.

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  2. My garden gives me so much joy and pleasure as well. I have spent the majority of this week tending to it and anticipating thee growth it will soon produce. Enjoy this blessed time 🪴, even as the squirrels and birds interest in it grows as much as your own (yup, very familiar with their antics) 😉

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