It’s April. That month may not mean much to most folks, but in our family it’s a pretty big deal. No family birthday, no anniversaries, no big ceremonies. But there is one important thing that happens during the month of April. It’s garden growing time.
You didn’t know that was a thing?
Well, it is.
At least in our back yard.
About eight years ago, we made box gardens. I found a picture on Pinterest (because where else would you look to find cute box gardens?) and my husband designed the six boxes that hold what I lovingly call “my plants that I love more than people.”
That’s a joke.
Or maybe not.
If you’re a fresh tomato/cucumber/bell pepper/zucchini/squash lover, you know this is the month when you’re anxiously waiting for your summer veggie plants to start producing.
I waited a little later than usual to plant this year, because life has been overwhelming and busy and crazy. But come mid-March, I knew it was time to get in the garden and get things ready.
One of my friends calls this version of me: “Spring Jaime.” She will casually mention it as though everyone should know the difference between Jaime and Spring Jaime. Spring Jaime will boldly ask anyone for gardening tips or leftover coffee grounds to use as fertilizer. Spring Jaime is a bit much to handle. The people closest to me have learned to deal with her and love her anyway.
During April, it’s all about waiting. All the plants are in the soil, and I’m watering, looking for bugs, and basically praying that some Miracle-Gro miracles happen (not that I use that stuff because real vegetable gardeners don’t use that stuff. Wink wink).
I’ve chased down farmers in overalls at Lowes to talk cucumbers. I walk across the street to question my neighbor about his tomato plants. I’m not sure he’s told me all of his secrets yet, but I’m working on getting them all.
Late nights when I can’t sleep, my google searches at this time of year read like this: “How to grow really big tomatoes,” “How to protect your cucumbers from pests,” “How to grow bigger and better bell peppers,” “The secrets to watermelon growing.”
Ask me how my family is doing, and at this time of year, I’m likely to say, “Good, but have I shown you pictures of my garden?”
I’ve toured guests through my garden, whether they wanted to see what was growing or not. It’s like the mom with the newborn who shows pictures to complete strangers. It just happens. I show my garden, and realize after I’ve shown them one, two or twenty pictures that people really don’t care.
But watching and waiting for good things to grow in a space that used to be a slice of green grass makes my heart happier than I ever imagined. Pulling weeds is cheap therapy, and going work in my garden is way more tempting than cooking dinner. Or cleaning. Or just about anything I’m supposed to be doing. I go out in the mornings and again in the afternoons. Just in case something changed while I was away at work, you know?
There’s the sign that hangs on the garden wall: May Good Things Grow Here. It’s a prayer of mine while I’m pulling weeds and whispering to my little plants. It’s a prayer of mine for the kids who have grown up coming in and out of my garden, watching me wait on things to grow. There’s a lot of waiting and whispered prayers. And gardening reminds me that all good things take a while to grow.