Last year, my neighbor was having some landscaping done, and in the process had ordered too many truckloads of organic mulch.
Ordinarily, this wouldn’t have been a problem, except she has a small backyard, a rocky front yard, and the mulch had been delivered onto
She made an offer to the neighborhood: as much mulch as you want, but you’ve got to cart it away.
No one took her up on her offer…except my kids.
They spent afternoons tracing a path between my backyard and her driveway. They spent dirty hours shoveling
rich, organic mulch into a wagon. They spent sweaty hours pushing, pulling and shoving the wagon over the rocky
path that they’d forged between the two homes, and then more hours unloading the wagon of its cargo into a garden
bed that they’d outlined with large stones.
That was last year.
This year, following some internal clock that they each share, my kids started turning the soil in the large bed that they had
created. They hauled more rocks to outline boundaries dividing the bed into thirds, and then spent more hours creating
rows and mounds to support the plants they planned to grow in their gardens.
Once the gardens were planned and built up into rows and mounds, my kids went out to the shed, found seed packets bought
on a whim at the hardware store, and started planting. They carefully put each seed into the soil that they had prepared, carefully
tamped the soil over the seeds, carefully watered it all in…and then came in to draw maps of their gardens.
They painstakingly drew each row, each mound, each stone, and labeled each row and mound with the vegetable that will grow there,
noting the days needed for germination, the days until harvest, and the date planted.
Each day, they go outside, singly and together, to study the soil for any signs of growth.
And each night, as the sun goes down, they each go out to water their garden.
I don’t know how they came to the decision that a vegetable garden would be their next project, but it’s been a joy to watch them cart, plan, dig, plant and grow.
Yesterday, my son, Boo, flew into the kitchen through the French doors to the patio and exclaimed, “Mom! My peas! My peas are twice as big today as they were yesterday!” The grin on his face, the sense of pride that he had, not of himself, but of his pea that had grown so brilliantly, shed more light on the day than the sun!
And I thought to myself, “It’s amazing what kids will do if you let them.”