It’s October, and the first frost came this weekend, causing the tomato plants to wither and look exhausted…and wet. So, it’s time for the boys to tear down their gardens.
This is always more fun than I expect… As we pull the stringy cucumber vines off their trellis and yank tomato plants out of the cages, the boys turn it into a feat of strength, an adventure. Their creativity kicks in and tomato cages turn into robot parts, the shriveled plants become weapons (of course). Before I know it, I have boys running all over the yard, engaged in imaginative play… and sometimes I have to dodge dirt clumps and rotten tomatoes. Really, I have to laugh and not be a task-master. This is what gardens are for! These moments become the memories.
I always ask the boys – usually inside, later, after the games are over – what they thought of their gardens this season. I’m sure they feel somewhat similar year-to-year: they liked watching certain plants, and some were a bust. Here’s what they said this year:
Jude: “My favorite thing about my garden was definitely my cherry tomatoes because they taste the best. They’re my favorite tomato. And cucumbers because they grow fast.”
Morris: “I like pulling things out of the ground, the carrots, the radishes. The radishes I like pulling out of the ground. I like the peppers. I like the hot peppers because they were really fast to grow, and I liked to do dares with them and make people eat them. I like the green peppers because they’re big. I like being a part of things.”
Later, “I love that the kitty-cats love to lay in them.”
(He was referring to a hot pepper challenge between Cousin Quinn and Rex. Who could chew on the pepper the longest? Rex won. Quinn drank a lot of milk.)
Rex: “I liked that we had a lot of cucumbers and tomatoes. I didn’t like that my mint and chives didn’t grow. I enjoyed the hot peppers.”
So, they were mostly pleased with their gardens, although we have some things to work on… Next season I’d like to try some new, different plants, and I’d like us to grow more from our own seeds. We’ll see. Each season is different, yet familiar. That’s one of the charms of our gardens.