Almost everyone, upon hearing that I grow food for 20 families and have two small children, have one of two responses: 1) "So you must have a pretty big garden then." 2) "What do you do with your children?"
1) You have no idea. You really don't, particularly if you live in town. My gardens (that's right, plural) are bigger than your entire block. However, you're welcome to come on out for a tour and see for yourself just how and what it is that we do here!
2) I submit the following photo into evidence:
My children go with me whenever possible. And when it isn't possible, I do those jobs during their naptime (i.e. mowing). This is the definition of a family farm. The whole family is involved. Jana, even at just two years of age, is a wonderful helper. And can do small tasks and she loves being a big girl like Mommy!
You may not be able to tell, but there sits 5000 strawberry plants!
When all the berries (strawberries and raspberries) are in, we will have just under an acre!
Here is my wonderful husband, planting little plant after little plant on his hands and knees. It's painstakingly slow planting them by hand, but we're a hands-on outfit around here!
It doesn't look like much now, but this plant will green up in a day or two and start leafing out!
As I was digging in the raspberries today, I wondered:
When you buy raspberries in the grocery store, do you know where they came from?
Do you know that the farmer had to keep a close eye on her dog so he wouldn't dig the canes up thinking they were his fetching stick?
Do you know if that farmer has a dog?
Do you know that the farmer dug those plants in by hand with her own shovel, placed the dirt lovingly around each cane and then said a prayer that they would grow?
Onto another favorite topic of mine...MULCH!
As mentioned in a previous post, I love to mow lawn. However, it seems to fall to the bottom of the to-do list when there is seed to get in the ground. As a result, it gets long and shaggy and blows out windrows instead of nicely shredded grass. Now out in the outer reaches of the yard, I don't care that much. But right around the house where the kids play, I don't like it. I could lose one of them in it!
Enter Annie and her trusty rake.
See garlic waiting to be mulched. Mulching has a two-fold purpose: it suppresses a lot of the weeds and it retains and moderates moisture. Both of these are very good for garlic and onions. The onions weren't quite big enough yet, so I just did garlic tonight.
Ahhh, my trusty wheelbarrow. This was my grandparent's wheelbarrow and I will never part with it. I love it and have done all manner of yard and garden jobs with it. It brings a smile to my face knowing my beloved grandfather, the namesake of my son, used this same tool.
Finished mulching. The grass will settle with time and rain, breaking down and adding much needed nitrogen to the growing garlic.