An Act of Faith

June 19, 2010 § 5 Comments

Gardening is an act of faith. And for non-religious me, that’s quite a statement.

But really, I feel that there’s no other way to describe gardening than to call it a miracle. You take seeds, these miniscule things, stick them in the ground, water and feed them, and then wait. And 5 or 10 or many days later, depending on the seed, you witness life unfurling in a skinny stem and little leaves. They soak up the sun, the water, the nutrients in the soil, and they grow what gardeners all call “true leaves”, becoming their big selves.

The cycle continues, through flowering and more seeds, and nature does what it’s always done. (Well, aided in the garden by a nurturing human who wants tasty produce so will coddle the plants with things like seaweed emulsion and tomato food and protective gear.)

It’s been interesting to see which plants are fussy and which will thrive just fine on their own, thank you. Take tulips, dahlias and mesclun.

I had tulip bulbs that my old work team gave me six months ago, which were moldering in my pantry until my in-laws saw them during their April visit and suggested I stick them in a pot of dirt to see what would happen. Now, mind you, tulips are supposed to be planted in the fall to blossom in the spring. I planted these on the exact opposite timeline and stuck the pot in a far but sunny corner of the yard. The day after I planted them, it was clear that a cat or raccoon tried digging up the bulbs but got bored. I smoothed the dirt over again. Then, I promptly forgot about them, as my gardening time tends to focus single-mindedly on my edibles. And yet, up through the dirt emerged tulip greenery.

Emergent tulip

Or the dahlias. My father-in-law kindly bought me a small plastic bag of dahlia tubers at Lowe’s when he was visiting, just for kicks. We had no idea if they were actually going to grow, as my in-laws — who grow a field of dahlias every summer and give away gorgeous bouquets to people who need that simple beauty in their lives — purchase their bulbs at dahlia specialists like Swan Island. But I followed Swan Island’s instructions, watering and fertilizing and waiting, and the plants did their thing, breaking through the soil, growing strong and producing their first flower buds in 7.5 weeks.

First dahlia bud forming

Dahlia flower bud opening 5 days later

And the mesclun. That stuff grows like crazy. The seeds are tiny specks, and yet, in 5 days, tiny two-leaf seedlings emerge…

Mesclun: Seedlings in 5 days

…and 8 days later, they’re growing their true leaves…

Mesclun: True leaves 13 days in

…and 5 days later, it’s starting to resemble a miniature lettuce patch…

Mesclun patch 18 days in

…and 9 days later, it’s almost ready to harvest! It’s also protected from birds, cats and the other wildlife that seems to enjoy our garden by my makeshift guard of sharp, pointy sticks (a.k.a., bamboo barbecue skewers). More on wildlife in a later post.

Mesclun: 27 days in, nearly harvest-ready


Tagged: ,

§ 5 Responses to An Act of Faith

  • Helpful info. Fortunate me I discovered your site by chance, and I
    am surprised why this accident did not took place
    earlier! I bookmarked it.

  • Amy says:

    Won’t Anne Lynn be proud when those dahlias grow!! I am so amazed at all your progress! Your success is making me crave my own garden… 😦

  • Larry King says:

    My hint re the coffee grounds was almost a reply to Act of Faith….I think it is great that you are sold on gardening. I loved it when I could get out and work in the yard and truly miss our citrus trees and many other things from our Florida home – esp. the wall of azaleas along the back fence – solid pink to about six feet tall in Jan.etc…..keep up the good work…Love Larry

  • Larry King says:

    Your recipes sound great and I am really glad for thehint about soft cookies. Re garden – did you ever hear of using coffee grounds sprinkled around your plants esp. those that love acid? It really works and I learned it from Starbucks as they used to bag the grounds from each day in large bags as if they were fresh and they are free. I had really good luck in obtaining them in Fl. at our neighborhood Starbucks – that is part of their Save the Planet effort. My main trouble was that some man would arrive early and take all of allowed..also a man was caught rebagging the grounds and selling them at a Farmers’ Market or such.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading An Act of Faith at Together In Food.