It has been a week since my tilling and planting, and thanks to some heavy rains these past few days, the shoots are coming up in my vegetable patch.
This year’s garden is the largest one I have ever planted – taking several days to turn the earth with just a pick and shovel in 45 degree celsius temperatures. Thus, you may be able to imagine my joy when I saw the little green sprouts popping up to let me know that my work was well with the sweat and effort.
Many locals here use a pick ax to get their gardens started ~ digging into the ground a good 6 inches, then flipping the soil over, pounding out the chunks and smoothing the surface. A friend who helped me with my work a little one day thought I was strange when he saw me turning the soil in a manner my mother taught me… using a spade to dig down about a foot, flip the clump and then chop it into fine dirt – tossing any rocks, roots or weeds well out of the vicinity. But the technique works very well ~ especially for earth that has not been tilled before and may be dense with weeds, grass or stones. The small section of the garden my friend readied with a pick was infested with new weed growth after just one rain – leaving me with another day’s work plucking them out from between my fragile vegetable shoots. Whereas the sections prepared with the spade technique were virtually weedless! There is no doubt the pick is faster at turning the soil over and saves on hand blisters (and foot blisters for those of us who garden in Peshawari chappals), but with my trusty spade the soil was soft a good 10-12 inches deep ~ killing weed roots much more efficiently and making it much easier to plant.
By local standards the sowing of my seeds was almost two months late. Other pressing music related work and some poor health kept me away from the earth for several weeks in the spring. My neighbours and family thought I was a bit whacky for staring so late, but I assured them “better late than never”.
Last year, after spreading compost on my garden, a stray watermelon seed took root. We cared for it, nurtured it closely and it provided us with a tasty fruit almost 3 months out of season! Some stray tomato seeds also began growing very late in last year’s season, but provided us with ripe red treasures well into October. Nobody was laughing at me then. 🙂 This year, our harvest may be late, but it will still be enjoyed – God willing.