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March 31, 2010

A friend’s therapist once told her this about an ill-destined relationship: you can’t love someone’s potential. So true. But can you love your garden’s potential?

Faith in a morning glory seed: the ultimate potential

I am heady in love with my little patch of earth’s potential. It’s a blank slate again, a canvas for my tomato and squash dreams. A place for cosmos to rise up from the ashes, singing.

This bare swath of garden is like a newborn baby, into which I pour all my hopes and dreams. Seems impossible that it’ll ever erupt with bindweed and tantrums.

Here’s the blank slate from above:

*notice 5 year old boy in foreground, where is he headed with that metal rod?*

Maybe this will be the year the Colorado nights at 6512 feet don’t exhale chilled breath on my cucumbers, stunting their twining limbs. Maybe we’ll have enough tomatoes to can and dry. Maybe our surviving strawberries will knit themselves into a tight crocheted afghan of green. Maybe the peas will make it past the grubby hands of children and into our kitchen.

At this point of ground zero, anything seems possible.

I found this little chard plant standing brave after shrugging off five feet of snow, full of potential.

Baby parsley, percolating up through the soil.

These ones believe in the potential of grasshoppers:

When we’re out in the garden, dirt-splattered and enraptured

it’s virtually impossible to break for meals. We usually grab the first low-maintenance item presenting itself in the fridge. I found this meal in our sunroom during Sunday’s garden extravaganza, scavenged by Dan on the fly.

Cold pinto beans and morning waffles, indiscriminately squirted with hot sauce. Dan notes that someone even bit the plate.

Potential for a stomach ache.

I’m also in love with the potential of sitting in the sun, not doing much of anything.

Except squeezing a small daughter creature.

What potential is tugging at you this spring?

*ps: whomever alerted “stumble upon” to my roadkill post is an angel spreading good blog gospel. Thank you.

29 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2010 9:51 am

    It’s so true! Every year at this time I dream of what I can do in my garden… August, I’m wondering what I did wrong. But, I’m not there yet. I believe in the potential of my garden with all my heart! I love squeezing daughter creatures too : )

  2. March 31, 2010 10:04 am

    No garden this year. I am so sad about that. Instead, the potential will be a move, a baby growing, two crazy boys, the seeds I will pack up for another season.

  3. David Smith permalink
    March 31, 2010 11:01 am

    We seriously still have 2 feet of snow at our place!!! It was a rough winter. We’re sure looking forward to getting our feet in soil and grass – especially Emmett.

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      March 31, 2010 3:11 pm

      David, bring that boy over. We’ve got some dirt for him to sink his feet into.

  4. Audrey permalink
    March 31, 2010 11:14 am

    Us too! After 3 years of composting, adding sand and peat and manure our garden dirt is finally acting like dirt and not something that you’d want a potting wheel for. We’re already debating whether the landlords would notice if we pulled out a few more feet of grass!

    Carrots, broccoli, peas and sweet peas already in; putting in much more next weekend. I <3 dirt!

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      March 31, 2010 2:12 pm

      Audrey, it took us almost ten years of adding manure, sand and compost to win against the clay. Nice job on the early planting!

  5. Ami permalink
    March 31, 2010 11:49 am

    I simply love hearing about the variety of ways spring explodes! Here, of course, there is no snow… my seed starts are water logged from rain cloud after rain cloud… but the arugula is a champion, pushing through the little square ponds in the 6-packs…! It’s just so different here! My chard and parsley have overwintered… I just harvested some flat-leaf, and the the gigantic curly parsley volunteer that arrived last summer is patiently growing, at the slowest of speeds – me appreciating that it does not bolt at the first sign of sun – instead it’s like it’s waiting for me to come reap it’s bounty! And then there’s the 2 year old onions… planted two years ago – in a sort of shady spot, from seed – for two summers now they’ve just sat there, growing slowly, slowly, never a flower…. and I think they may be ready this year! :) A friend successfully overwintered snow peas and is eating them out of her garden presently… I’m going to remember that for next fall!
    But I just so love hearing about the play between the cold and snow and the earth’s drive to push those plants out of the soil! I can only imagine the love affair that would follow from a winter of one’s soil being buried under the snow and ice! Thanks for sharing!
    Have you had much traffic from stumbleupon!? I love it! :)

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      March 31, 2010 2:01 pm

      Ami, That’s right, spring is a total love affair! And yes, Stumble Upon traffic has been good. Are you my angel? I don’t really know how the whole thing works, but angels are always appreciated!

  6. March 31, 2010 1:06 pm

    What’s the opposite of a green thumb? Because that’s what I’ve got. Our soil is basically clay and the combination of its hostility and my serious lack of skills seems to have cursed everything I’ve planted. But I won’t give up! I’m going to start anew with some herbs. I’m also considering some potted lettuce and tomato plants to cut the lousy soil out of the equation. Oh wait, then I’ll have nothing to blame but my own ineptitude…

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      March 31, 2010 2:00 pm

      Kristen, if you live in the Bay Area, it’s cheaper and almost as fun to just go to the amazing farmers markets!

  7. March 31, 2010 1:33 pm

    Sadly, my thumbs aren’t green, but thankfully, we live in a house where the the plants in our yard are perennials. While I would love to have my own garden, I’ve come to terms with my inability to grow anything but herbs so I guess I can at least look forward to the potential for really good mojitos and lots and lots of pesto.

  8. March 31, 2010 3:19 pm

    Oh I love it… my garden constantly surprises me by doing far better than what I think is its potential.
    And this year I think, more than ever, I am in love with what I see as the potential to spend more time with my husband and the potential to create an even stronger bond than we already have. Having a 20 month old child picks away at our couple-time, but the potential is there.

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      March 31, 2010 9:10 pm

      Relationship potential: that sounds fertile, I mean, nice, really nice. I would love that too. I’m hoping for adult, hiking-date potential.

  9. March 31, 2010 4:02 pm

    Ah Spring. Spent 3 hours digging in my little patch of dirt yesterday and have the tan lines to prove it. Been wanting to start my basil, chives etc for some time now.

    It’s 76 here today and I think we’re safe to start planting. The rains will be back Saturday, but hopefully not as violent as those up north.

  10. March 31, 2010 4:11 pm

    Oh, that bucket of tomatoes … I’m in love. (And I love daughter-creature snuggles, too.)

  11. March 31, 2010 6:05 pm

    I think I love your garden’s potential. Best of luck with it.

  12. abozza permalink
    March 31, 2010 6:23 pm

    I think that may be my downfall and why I don’t garden. I just don’t see the potential in the soil. The potential to do nothing in the sun? I see that one. But, the soil? Not yet. I’m working on it, though. I’m loving reading about yours!

  13. March 31, 2010 7:16 pm

    I feel the same way. Although, my little baby has a way of getting out of hand before I know it.

    I love the aerial view. Very inspiring!

    And I almost always laugh (hard) at least once reading your post. This time it was the found meal with the bite taken out of the bowl that got me going. Thank you so much for that….we all need to laugh.

  14. Julie permalink
    March 31, 2010 10:48 pm

    I am thinking I need to move to town. The cold air drainage we are in at 7000 ft, 2 miles from town, isn’t very friendly to many plants and is why we used to always participate in the community garden until we had three kids and decided having one in our yard would make more sense. Last year I stuck to chard, spinach, kale, beets, peas, beans, and greens. I am thinking that is all I can do but those are some healthy yummies. If we ever end up moving to town, I am ready to have a nice big garden like yours. We will just have to live through you for now. I can’t wait for some great native plant hikes this summer.

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      April 1, 2010 8:16 am

      Julie – maybe we can trade. In the height of summer you’ll still have lettuce while we’ll be spouting zucchinis and summer squash. Your list of colder weather crops actually sounds awesome (maybe add broccoli and cabbage?). Even in town, the cool nights make tomato ripening something you pray for all August and September.

  15. Steph permalink
    April 1, 2010 7:56 am

    I’ve got the gardening bug so bad, you’d think I’ve been gardening for years, but this spring in fact will only be my second garden ever! We’re digging up more dirt this year to maximize our garden’s potential. I don’t remember what I ever did with myself this time of year before I was a gardener?

    I’m also in love with the potential of my baby son as he grows… I can’t wait to see him enjoy the great outdoors this summer and also squeeze his plump limbs more often because they won’t be covered by so many clothes!

  16. April 1, 2010 2:22 pm

    Spring in general equals potential for me. My chives peeking through the ground is enough to make me smile.

  17. April 1, 2010 5:32 pm

    One thing that was so upsetting about moving into/discovering hidden mold/moving out of the house we attempted to buy last fall was the garden space. It was 8 acres of land, and a huge plot for a garden. I imagined so many veggies growing there…ah, your garden makes me nostalgic for it. But, someday, I know that I’ll have a spot ready again, and then…we will have tomatoes. Glorious, summer tomatoes!!

    Happy Growing!!

  18. April 1, 2010 6:10 pm

    Garden potential, definitely. I’ve got seeds starting to sprout down in the basement under shop lights. So very happy.

  19. Judy permalink
    April 1, 2010 7:18 pm

    Yes, the potential of the garden! The lure of it!

    You capture perfectly the anticipation of things to come with just a hint of the angst every gardener feels about the challenges ahead.

    Here in Nutley, NJ, I wonder if this will be the year when The Stars Align to grow – in addition to the reliable favorites – a few melons in our less-than-full-sun back yard. May the dragonflies & their allies come back again & feast on every last one of those devilishly cute cucurbit-loving beetles!

  20. April 3, 2010 1:06 pm

    Mmm. More garden posts, please! (And feel free to link to my garden blog party later this month–details at Because speaking the good green words is what you are so much about.

  21. April 6, 2010 10:58 pm

    Oh I am DREAMING of those tomotoes :)

  22. April 6, 2010 10:59 pm

    haha – I mean tomAtoes :)

  23. April 7, 2010 4:28 pm

    I’ve been called many things, but an angel… never. Glad it’s working for you!!

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