My Favorite Time of Year is Here


If there was one scent I could have bottled or turned into a candle fragrance, it would not be that of old books, rain on dry earth (which, as it happens, is called “petrichor“), or even sun-warmed fields of corn. While all of those scents are breathtaking, I feel like they would succeed as fragrances about as well as watermelon has fared as a flavor. (I have nothing against “watermelon”-flavored candy; it just doesn’t taste like watermelon.)

No, my fragrance of choice would be plain old dirt.

Moist, if possible.

Last week I brought down my dirt pellets and seedling trays and put in the first of my veggie seeds for this year’s garden. While I’ve tried to upcycle household products this year in preparation for my garden, I found myself reverting to the Jiffy pellets and trays. For a hobby gardener like me, they’re blessedly fool-proof. (Unlike the whole toilet paper roll-turned-seedling pot, which produced more mold than sprouts under my care.)

While Nina and her boyfriend (Lord, that’s so weird to say) played Mario Cart and Gram looked on, I doused the dirt pellets in warm water and basked in the aroma of moist potting soil.

My tomato seedlings this past weekend.

And I planted far too many tomato seeds: the classic “Big Boy” variety, roma tomatoes, and tomatillos, which are a new one for me. Then came the peppers (bell and jalapeno, with habanero added more recently) and eggplant, the latter of which is going in purely for Mom’s benefit.

I have a feeling this garden project is going to overwhelm me this year. On the plus side, I may be able to sell off my extra seedlings (if I can figure out how to store and transport them), which will help to offset the cost of getting a proper, chicken-proof garden fence. Or renting a rototiller.

We have yet to keep a proper garden at this house. The first summer we were here we attempted to put one in, but we accidentally chose the lowest spot in the yard, which also happened to be where the sump pump drained out. Last year, none of us had the time or resources to maintain a garden. This year we’re all desperate for fresh veggies. More so for me since I’ve overcome my tomato aversion. I never thought I’d actually crave them!

As I mentioned in my last post, Dad helped me set out a “floor plan” for the garden. To start, he had me list every variety of every veggie (or fruit, as tomatoes are) to go in the garden. Halfway through Mom leaned in and added a couple more items.

For a moment, Dad just stared at that list.

“Oh, I forgot the greens,” I said, snagging it out from under his nose.

There’s a lot of items I’ve never grown before, like lettuce and carrots and eggplant. There are also some items that didn’t make the list, such as corn and sunflowers. Dad sat back once he’d scribbled the last notation on his sheet of paper. Leaning over to see, I blew out a heavy breath.

“That’s going to be a lot of work,” I muttered.

“Just don’t sleep.”

I have a feeling I’m going to buff up my canning skills this autumn.


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