And the winner is…

October 10 (1 of 1).jpg

*Seedling Update*
(click here and here for some background)

As the growing season winds down – though you wouldn’t know it by the extended summer we’ve been having – I thought I’d bring things full circle by summarizing our backyard harvest results. Here’s the final score:

Lavender: 0
Basil: 5
Viola: 10
Tomato: 14,000 (approx.)

Poor, poor lavender. It wasn’t having anything to do with me after I unintentionally baked the first eager seedlings. The new seeds would not sprout, no matter how nicely I asked. Thankfully, the pain of losing the lavender was lessened somewhat by a summer visit to a real lavender farm, where they know what they’re doing, and most certainly do not accidentally fry their seedlings.

The purple basil caught on well and all five seedlings made themselves comfortable in a pot on the patio. They got a bit leggy after a while, but no matter – many leaves were chopped up (very finely, so that finicky children could not detect them) and added to various dishes throughout the summer.

The violas, those dainty things, were purple and yellow on each bloom. They were transplanted into the garden beds and flowered throughout the summer despite my failure to remember to give them a drink. Unfortunately, they are parched and crunchy now, though I’m not sure if that normally happens in the fall or whether I killed them with neglect. Time will tell.

And the tomatoes. My word. I have only three potted plants and I’ve been picking tomatoes for weeks. There are still too many ripening tomatoes to count. There are still flowers flowering. And there are still only two things I know how to do with tomatoes (1. eat them raw, 2. cook them in a pot).

Why the tomatoes were so successful is beyond my comprehension, since last year’s yield was pitiful compared to our current bounty. I can’t really take any credit, as I remembered to give the tomato plants a drink only slightly more often than I did for the violas.

So there you have it. And now I’m off to Google “tomato recipes” before I’m overrun.


April 12 (1 of 1)

Our tomatoes, seen here, are awake and eager, reaching upwards from their tiny peat pots by the window. Basil isn’t far behind, but lavender’s going to make us wait.

I don’t know much about the garden except that I like puttering around in it. This is true especially in early spring, when tiny signs of life start emerging from earth that seemed as though it had been dark and dead for ages.

For the past couple of years, the kids have helped start a few seeds indoors. We have a small plastic planting tray with those peat pellets that swell when they’re watered. The kids use a toothpick to place the seeds, and label the rows so we know what we’re looking at (and which kid planted it) once they sprout.

I’d hoped that if the children would be involved in cultivating a few backyard vegetables, they’d actually eat some. (Nope. Not a chance.)

Whether they end up consuming our harvest or not, I’m glad to see the kids experiencing the wonder of a seed starting to realize its potential – a seed they held in their hand, a seed they personally placed in the right conditions for new life.

The kids check on the seeds’ progress daily. Her tomato plants are winning, and his basil’s in second place, but I’m pretty sure we’re all rooting for the underdog.

Come on out, lavender. No need to be afraid. I’m almost certain the kids won’t eat you.

Let it shine.


Glass watering bulbs are hollow orbs that can be filled with water and inserted into plant containers to help keep the soil moist.

Mine is rather plain and dull-looking, at least while doing its duty, lodged in a pot. Inconspicuously, it doles out single drops of water to extend the flamboyant but brief lives of my impatiens, which end up overrunning the container in all their showy glory and obscuring the bulb entirely.

It really sparkles, though, when it’s pulled free and held up to the light.


*BTW: A stained-glass ball held between your readied camera and the burning centre of our solar system may not provide adequate retinal protection against the sun’s harmful rays.