I dreamed of a vegetable garden, to call my own...
I read up on companion planting.
I envisioned flowers, herbs and vegetables that complement each other, cozying up in lush beds.
It was summer of 2011 on our little piece of earth north of Tucson, Arizona, as the planning began.
We carved out a space for the vegetable garden.
I ordered seeds.
Mister Lovee enclosed the garden for me.
We decided on 8 beds.
We dug deep down to line the beds with thick mesh waffle wire, as we have a gopher epidemic here.
Miniature goats gifted manure, delivered by a friend.
Quickly, summer left us, and it was fall of 2011.
I planted a couple of beds to test.
We kept working.
Mostly me, I wanted to do this.
I wanted it to be my baby.
I felt something in the depths of my soul, beckoning me.
It took so much work and time.
It was a huge job, but fulfilling in ever way.
I started some plants inside in winter.
Lots and lots of tomatoes.
During those cool winter months I searched for a wooden arbor.
With no luck, I found some 10 ft. pieces of white wood (sign posts) in our wood piles, I dug 2ft.+ deep holes, and built my own.
Just like that, the dream was being created.
Something I had to do.
A burning desire.
And so, it began...
I had grown vegetables in and around the flower gardens, and in a smaller enclosed garden near by.
But, I had to go bigger.
There was no question.
I don't know.
I just had to.
Something I felt that I needed to do in my life - grow edibles.
This was to be a special place.
A place all of its own.
Winter and into spring 2012 brought us cabbages, and Brussels sprouts, and spinach.
Broccoli and lettuce of all kinds too.
Turnip seeds planted, which gifted so many to share.
More cabbages grew, onion seeds were planted.
Tomato plants were transplanted into the garden in early spring.
I tucked each one in with care and love, sitting in the dirt.
One by one...
Getting them in as perfectly and as securely as I could.
Pumpkin seeds were taken out of pumpkins, as I baked the last of fall's babes.
Planted in the ground.
Snuggled into the earth, to sleep for a little while, before the warmth would wake them.
I couldn't contain myself.
I kept ordering seeds, and planting them.
The seed packages from different places were so lovely.
So much life in a little paper envelope.
I even ordered some extra sort of fancy pumpkin seeds.
Just to see.
And then, the growing began...
The garden sprouted -
April and May, growing growing growing...
And then, came June.
In early spring I planted corn and sunflower seeds all around the inside of the garden.
I dreamed of a green wall surrounding me.
Cabbages in the covered cage below have been eaten, and now we await new sprouting seeds of different things.
Cages are removed when sprouts become large enough to be safe from birds.
The hot sun is making everything grow and grow and grow.
As my dreams of a summer vegetable garden become more real.
We pull big beautiful carrots and red onions out of the dirt.
Oh the scent.
The glorious aroma of dirt and onions and carrots...
I printed the pages.
I drew up a diagram of what to plant where.
Onions with carrots, in one bed.
Basil, and peppers and tomatoes in another.
In the center of the garden was a wonderful wooden table Mister Lovee made in the 80's.
He rebuilt it for me.
But then I needed more planting space, so it now lives right outside the garden.
In its place, more basil and dill and sunflowers.
Behind that, beans and strawberries.
(giant bricks hold the umbrella stand, as the wind whips like never before here)
In another bed, cucumbers, garlic, onions, dill, celery and nasturtium...
And farther beyond...
Turnips and beets and bok choy, and more.
The corn surrounding the garden gets taller everyday.
I decided to put in more tomato seeds in late April.
They grow below with all sorts of peppers, and a rogue squash plant.
The front entry was lined with wildflowers in early spring.
Bachelor's buttons and shirley poppies grew in massive abundance.
Less now with the heat.
Below, the tomato plants I began inside in winter, surrounded by basil and parsley.
I toss parsley seeds here and there, and they take off like mad trees.
On the day that the hives+anaphylactic shock debacle began, I curled into the corner below...
The scent of the tomatoes bewitching me.
I stood up parsley and tomato vines and trimmed here and there.
I washed all my sunflower leaves with more soap than I was supposed to, in a desperate attempt to get rid of the bugs on them (2 kinds). The soap and bugs and plant oils dripping all over me.
Whatever it was that caused the dilemma...
This is where I was.
Tucked into that little corner below, smelling the beautiful smells.
I begin to feel so confused that I don't know what or who to blame.
Tomatoes, parsley, bugs, sun, soap+plant oil drippings?
Or something else I don't even know about?
So, I blame less.
Because, it could have been anything.
So, I tread with great caution, and that is all I can do.
I collect arugula and other types of lettuce.
From delicious, peppery and intense, to mild and sweet...
I take some carrots and onions and lettuce across the road.
My neighbor e-mails me to say, thank you for lunch...
My heart smiles.
I spy cucumber flowers and bees doing their thing...
I look at the parsley a lot.
For some reason, I think the parsley has some serious secrets it needs to tell me.
It knows things.
I stand back and watch everything grow bigger and bigger.
I spy little corns forming sooner than I imagined.
And a big shiny pumpkin pokes out from underneath a giant sunflower...
I look around.
More cautious than ever.
I feel good about being cautious.
With a slight tinge of reservation.
My birthday birdhouse from a few years ago (from mom and dad) greets me...
As the sun shoots beautiful fairy colors through the trees.
I ponder the last week again and again.
But I find that the happenings are fading from my memory.
I have never been a person who can hold onto things for long.
Even when I want to.
My brain just auto-corrects somehow.
As it forces me to move on.
So, I walk along.
I love the breezeway between the vegetable garden, and the pumpkin patch...
Squash blossoms just began in the pumpkin patch, which means it might be time to take the fencing down soon.
I close the gate as I leave...
Looking back to make sure everything is in check...
I am happy Mister Lovee is helping me with the garden ever since the scare. I have found a peace and acceptance in being helped.
All of a sudden, my garden becomes more our garden, and I love it even more.
I realize it is extra special now that it is shared.
A place to share with someone you love.
That is what it has become...
With so much respect for nature at every turn.
Eyes and heart open.