Is it possible to be a dedicated homeschooling mom while still making time for myself as an individual (a girlie girl who likes cute shoes)? I like to think so. Follow along, and I'll let you know for sure.

Trust me . . . it's not ALL about the shoes.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Little Green Garden

Let me put it out there right away - I have a brown thumb. Really, this is no exaggeration. As my husband will offer up, I have actually killed a cactus (and I'm fully capable of doing it again). The last time I put on my gardening gloves, I harvested a grand total of six strawberries and five blackberries. The caterpillars ate my tomatoes, the cats pooped in my peppers and the watermelon never ventured above the dirt. My husband threw the only thing that actually grew (the basil) out with all the dead stuff because he thought that if it was growing, it must surely be a weed.

Now my problem is not due to a lack of interest - I love the idea of flowers blooming in my yard and (most especially) of picking fresh veggies from my garden for dinner. Frankly, I'm not sure what the problem is, but I'm working towards figuring it out. It helps that Noah is obsessed with plants right now. My current attempt at gardening began when he brought home a fava bean plant from a gardening freecycle event. He was so excited about this plant (which he pronounces with a long "a" since, as he pointed out, if it was missing the "f" it would be an Ava bean plant) that I knew I had to figure out how to keep it alive.

Two weeks later, the kids came home with more plants from a trip to the farmer's market with Grandma; Ava had basil and Noah had jasmine. Actually, Ava had Basil and Noah had Jasmine - like they had given them little names. They rode in the car seats on the way home. Ava wanted to nap with hers. As you can imagine, the thought of letting their new best friends shrivel up and die just broke my heart.

So, I decided that keeping the leaves green would be part of our Earth Month project. I broke out the (never used) Earth Boxes that had been collecting dust in my garage for the past six years, and - since it was already late in the season - we loaded up on starts at the farmer's market: tomatoes, eggplant, arugula, lots of herbs - and just for fun, one each of canteloupe and pepper plants. My goal was to start small with just a few things that were relatively easy to grow; I am inspired by success (and easily discouraged by failure).

A few times a week, we spend time in the front yard, watering and observing our little garden. The kids play in the driveway while I trim the herbs. The weather has been amazing, and I've actually come to love our outdoor rituals.

In this time (and during lots of Q&A sessions with my green thumb friends), I've come to realize that in the past, I'd been expecting myself to suddenly know how to garden. In general, I don't do well with things I can't master all at once, and gardening certainly falls into that category. So my little garden - at least thus far - is doing more than providing a relaxing past time for our family; it's teaching me at least a little bit about slowing down the pace and not racing for the finish line . . . which (once I finally learn it) is a lesson I definitely want to pass on to the kids.

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