Father’s Day In the Garden

Father's DayNo matter what part of the country you live in or how far along your garden is, Father’s Day is a great time of the year to step back and enjoy your work. In many areas, greens are already being harvested, peas are beginning to pod, bush beans are in blossom, and tender baby carrots and turnips come easily from the ground. At higher altitudes and in northern climates, germination is in its early stages and young transplants — tomatoes, peppers and squashes — are taking root and standing tall. Spring flowers have faded or are long gone, summer blossoms are making their bright appearance. Everything is green, healthy and striving to grow strong.

In my former home of Bozeman, Montana — elevation 4200 feet or so — mid-June was a promising, orderly time in the garden. Parade-straight rows of beans recently broken from the ground were shedding cotyledons and hoisting first leaves. Squares of mixed greens were yielding the first baby lettuces and radishes were almost ready to pull. Pea tendrils were hooking into string trellises and the spinach made you feel healthy just looking at it. The few weeds that dared show themselves in the open rows and planted spaces, were easily seen and pulled. Recently planted marigolds, dug in at the same time as the tomato plants, held the orange blossoms they produced at the nursery and promised to carry, with careful trimming and sufficient watering, through the summer. Everything seemed in its place, just as I had planned it, and my plot — so neat and organized — looked worthy of my efforts.

I loved to pull up a chair, usually late afternoon or early evening, often with a lemonade, to sit and marvel at it, imagining what abundance I would take from it, what it would look like in September when the squash leaves had spread to shade the second planting of spinach, when the last beans had been harvested, when the first tomatoes suggested they might not be picked green after all. But mostly I just sat and looked at it, taking pride at the accomplishment, and enjoying the great peace that settled on me while taking in my handiwork. Take time to do the same this weekend, no matter how far along your garden is, and include those around you when you do. Is there a better way to spend Father’s Day?

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