Basil, carrots and dill growing wildly in our veggie boxes.
Since college, I’ve loved growing plants. The last two years have been the first time I’ve ever had the opportunity to plant things with edible potential in real dirt rather than a mobile pot or in a plot belonging to someone else. Previously, buckets and containers have always housed the eclectic selection of nursery rescues I tended. Our Square Foot Garden was a gift, built with love and cooperation two springs ago. It has a spectacular capacity to produce. I tempered my hope of an abundant harvest this year with the reality that we’d be gone for 6 weeks of the summer, but still I hoped.
Our dill weed’s umbel of flower buds
We returned to a garden growing more sparsely than originally planted, but the hearty survivors have been cheered with that much more enthusiasm.
The fractal-like leaves of our kale plants, ruffled and smooth
The real winners for the kids though in terms of connecting them with the wonder of the garden have been the carrots.
Plentiful and simple with a long peacock tail, each carrot planted has become a surprise waiting to be discovered. What color will it be? We have purple and orange! Will it be stubby like a finger or long and slender? How long will it be? Austin is in the search of the “biggest carrot we’ve ever seen!” and is sure any over 4″ belong in that category. Each carrot plucked from the dirt causes pause to investigate how much dirt needs to be brushed off, how long the root tip is, whether we can get it out alone or will need a tool to loosen it a little.
Another of the longest carrots “we’ve EVER seen!”
And then off to mindlessly munch while pacing here, jumping there, putzing around picking at the sunflowers or watching the tomatoes turn red. I was unaware when I was pining after veggie boxes that carrots would be the ones to show me the magic in the garden. It’s in the little things. It’s in picking the one carrot that we waited all summer to see how big it would get. It’s discovering that if we pick them when they’re young, they are so small. It’s in the question of whether or not we can eat the nub, the dirt, the greens. It’s in the beauty that one square foot of space can house 40 carrots.
Carefully brushing the dirt off the carrot, wanting to make sure the greens stay on as a handle and accessory.
This winter I expect the request for carrots will be as they were last year…we need to get “the carrots with the loooong leaves Mom.” The ones in the bag don’t look like the carrots we pick in the summer, and each time he takes one from the fridge I am asked, “Mom, tell me the story of where these carrots came from.”