...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Resilience and Continuity

Often I hold an idea in the palm of my hand much like a seed, and I wonder whether it will grow into something fruitful.  I took a couple of my favorite hobbies in hand that way a year ago and made a planting of them.  They both continue to this day.

One was the garden at Outreach, Inc., the drop-in center for homeless young people in downtown Indy.  Last year, our garden did fairly well--well enough that we decided to add a spring crop this year.
Last year, we planted summer fare--tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, carrots, etc. 
Last year we had great materials donated to us:  a raised bed garden plot with the best of soil.  But we planted on a cloudy day.  Some things never grew, and we had to do some replanting.

This year, we planted the same area, but on a sunny day.  The gardeners--both young men with previous gardening experience--noted that only half the garden plot got a full-sun exposure. 
This year, we planned out our seed planting according to not only soil needs, but also to sunlight needs and space needs.
We are learning to make our garden more fruitful.  More productive.  And we are continuing to dream.  We can see other things growing here.  Things we didn't try last year.
We are considering what went well before and what could stand to be tweaked a bit now. 
"We need to prune our tomatoes better."
"I know!  They did great for a while, but then they just went wild!"
"I want to plant some hot peppers this year. Not just the sweet ones."
We made use of an efficiency that comes with experience.
Last year we planted from a generalized guide sheet.  It was helpful.  But this year, we planted on last year's foundation, along with a bit of information on the back of the seed packets. We took a better assessment of our growing conditions. 

In many ways, the renewal of the growing season and the building upon its past successes and failures proved to be an altogether different sort of seed planted within us.

As for that other hobby I took like a seed into my hand--knitting with a teen library club for the sake of a charity in Africa--this one too is proving resilient and continues to thrive.  Recently, our knitting club celebrated the near-completion of our 60-item goal by taking a field trip to a local restaurant and sharing pie together during our knitting  time.  Our next objective is to add to our skill base: learning to crochet now that we have a good handle on knitting.  We may continue with charity work, or we may turn to gifts and personal projects, but either way--the group has found a joy in its identity worth preserving beyond this initial project.

While the knit-a-square charity was a great kick-off for this group, who can say what its future holds?  Who knows what the Outreach garden will end up being?  They, too, have dreams--dreams to grow things they might take to farmers' markets and sell for the good of the Center.  Dreams to expand the garden to grow things they already know how to cook and dreams to serve each other meals from recipes that are happy spots in their own histories.

Some days, when I read or hear how the love of so many in this world waxes cold, on those days these two groups--despite minimal skills, despite minimal resources--giving time and effort to benefit others...these are a warm spot against that invading cold.


  1. E., you are precious. You see my heart despite all the typos and the undeleted words after re-writes. Got to remember to wait to publish until I've let a post "simmer" for about half an hour and then taste it. Hopefully, it is "fixed" now. (smile)