Archive for May 1st, 2008

Gearing up for gardening

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Reid and I went to Lee Valley on Saturday in search of a vermicomposter but they don’t sell them. The fellow next to me recommended the rolling compost bin but since we have one that is full, I stuck to my guns (for now). We also stopped at the Ritchie’s Feed and Seed where I asked about them as well. The fellow referred me to Arbour Environmental in the Glebe. Reid and I needed to purchase some seeds as well. There were many, many beautiful seed packages to choose from and Reid wanted to put most of them into our cart. Okay, that is a slight exaggeration but only slight. We chose corn, squash and beans (the 3 sisters) to plant together and carrots, cantaloupe, cauliflower, pumpkin and tomatoes. We also picked up some broccoli sprouts and cow beans so that we could watch them germinate. We chose some cat nip seeds; we didn’t want Clio and Leo to feel left out. I chose 3 kinds of seed potatoes, including some that produce a blue-purple potato while Reid picked some elephant garlic bulbs. Finally, we picked up soil and sheep poop, the latter was the highlight of the trip for Reid, and we headed home discussing the other sorts of animal poop that could be used in gardens and if there was any kind on animal poop that couldn’t be. At the time, I couldn’t think of any but I was thinking of farm and zoo animals. Thinking about it now, I imagine domestic cat poop would be off limits. Not that I’d thought of sorting the litterboxes or anything.

We took our seed packets with us to Eddie’s for breakfast on Sunday so that we could admire them and plan our planting. It’s hard to plan with a kid who is more interested in gathering her favourite seeds in front of her than in reading the packets to see if they need to be started indoors or if they go straight in the ground. Reid was kept busy while we waited for our food to arrive and that was even more important than planning.

Once home, we brought the soil, sheep manure, seeds, pots, and tools to the driveway and began our work. Reid was most interested in playing with R again. I suggested that he might like to ride on her John Deere pedal-less tricycle or the John Deere ATV, if Reid was willing to share. She was and we brought both up from the basement. Then, Reid waited for R to appear while I mixed the soil and put it into pots. I expected Reid to want to be the planter-in-chief but she came over only when I commented on how small the cauliflower seed was compared to how large cauliflowers grow to be.

R and his mom came out to play and Reid’s interest in me and what I was doing waned further. A boy from a couple of doors down stopped to see what we were doing. He introduced himself as “B”, asked me, “Parlez-vous francais” (Do you speak French?) and told me with a grin, “Je parle franglais tres bien.” (I speak franglais – the blend of English and French common in bilingual places – very well.) He didn’t speak any English or franglais to me, though, only beautiful French. His parents are diplomats from I don’t know where but his accent was the sort I heard on the cassette tapes in elementary school. (How is that for dating myself ?+)

B asked if I was planting flowers or vegetables and did I need any help. I said his help would be welcome and then he put down his soccer ball and got to work. We planted many more seeds than I needed but B’s enthusiasm was contagious. Once finished with the planting, B told me that he had to leave once he’d watered the seeds. Ken had tried to patch the hose but there were too many holes and so he was still swapping out the hose. I went inside for water because, really, B had earned the right to water his work.

Throughout the planting, Reid wandered over now and again to plant a few seeds, quiz me on what B and I were planting or just check on things. She pretended to go camping, lying on the driveway with Eeyore and a blanket. At one point, she and R played with umbrellas. Reid really loves umbrellas and can pretend it’s raining with great enthusiasm and realism. It’s much better to play *rain* than to play *in* the rain. I’m sure that if you asked Reid she would tell you that *we* planted seeds on Sunday. I tell Reid often that simply by behaving, she is helping me with a task and so I would agree that we had completed the task together. I’m looking forward to more warm and sunny days in the driveway and front yard, getting to know the neighbour kids and playing with Reid.