The Good Earth

{Do you remember that book? Wasn’t it horrible? I remember hating it . . . perhaps I should add it to my list to reread. Maybe I missed something the first time around}

Olivia and Ejo working hard in the garden. All the kids helped me in the work of the clean up. They were awesome!

This weekend we put the garden away.

Green tomatoes on my torn out plants. How do I get them to ripen sooner?

We tore out the tomatoes, even though there were still about a bazillion green ones still on the vine. I need to find out how to get my plants to ripen sooner.

Some of the last things to be pulled out of the garden.

We tore out the watermelon – found about ten little teeny ones hidden throughout the garden. What the . . . !

Olivia holding a "duster" - a corn stalk and root that she cut and trimmed to make herself a cleaning tool.

We tore out the corn stalks, I tried to save some from the kids (who thought they made excellent brooms and dusters) to decorate my front porch with.

We tore out the zucchinis and yellow squash, only after plucking the last of their bounty.

We cut off and pulled off the spaghetti squash and acorn squash, and the last few peppers before pulling the plants out.

'Wait!' is what Cal said when I went to snap a picture of him working on the garden. He ran over to the weeds and returned with a piece of straw for his mouth. 'Now I look like a farmer' he told me as he allowed me to take his picture.

 

When everything was cleared and picked up, we raked, hoed, and cleaned the dirt to get it ready for next year.

I’m so excited for next year!

Now for a garden recap picture show:

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We started in the spring by building garden boxes – 1 12×4, 2 8×4 and 2 4x4s.

Then we hauled in dirt – 1 load of top soil and 1 load of compost.

Then we mixed, raked, and planted.

 

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Before we knew it we had all sorts of little things popping up. Everyone helped in tending the garden. One of our favorite activities was to go out in the cool of the evening and hose the garden down.

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It wasn’t long before we started to enjoy some of the harvest. Fresh tomatoes and basil and squash and corn were used all summer in salads and dinners.

 

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One extra fun experience we had was in the middle of the summer when one of the older women in my ward called me and asked me to come pick her plum tree. She wasn’t able to harvest and use it this year as she was too busy caring for her ailing husband, but she didn’t want it to go to waste (or, I suspect, litter her beautiful and impeccable yard).

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So I took the kids over on a hot hot summer day, and we spent the afternoon in the tree plucking plums. At first they complained and whined that it was so hot. But soon they were in the tree right along side me, picking plums and throwing them down for Everett to gather and Roo to eat.

At the end of the afternoon Olivia confessed: “Mom, I feel so good inside.” I told her it was because she was helping a neighbor.

She then suggested that we write this story up and submit it to The Friend. Ha ha ha!

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And what did I do with 100 lbs of plums (okay, maybe not 100, but seriously, at least 70)? I made plum butter. My house smelled heavenly for a week as I sliced, pitted and stewed plums. By the end of the week I was so sick of it though!

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The one great disappointment of the year was my sunflowers. I had some that reseeded from years past (like the red sunflower shown above) and I had about a half dozen come from seeds I planted this year (from over 100 seeds planted! Grr!) but most of the sunflowers were wild, weedy ones. I was so annoyed I had Wyatt pull them out in August, in hopes of not letting the weedy ones reseed. I am trying to figure out how to solve this problem for next year.

Over all the garden was a great experience. I learned a lot, and know what I’ll do different for next year. But for the most part, it really was able to be an after thought to our busy and frenetic lives. I was glad about that – that it didn’t become just this big overwhelming chore. It was fun, and the produce was great, but I didn’t feel a lick of guilt (well, maybe a lick) in throwing some of the produce away. If I couldn’t use it, I wasn’t going to beat myself up about it. So it was really just a fun family project.

I’m looking forward to next year!

The garden cleaned up and ready for next year!

 

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