The Garden Angels Have Descended—Now, Let’s Grow Some Food!

Hope has been restored for this year's garden, thanks to the kindness of a friend. We're finding more and more, that's how it goes out here.

by Rachael Dupree
PHOTO: Rachael Dupree

Do any of you experienced farmers ever reach a point in the growing season where you’re so overwhelmed by all on your to-do list you feel hopeless? Do you begin to wonder whether it’s worth growing a garden at all? Less than a week ago, that’s where I was mentally.

Thanks to spring showers and our lack of the necessary equipment, our garden plot had turned from nicely tilled soil back to a weedy nightmare. (You wouldn’t believe the number of cockleburs that grow in this place!) We’re expectant parents, so the garden has become a secondary priority for us after our full-time jobs and baby prep, so we haven’t been able to devote the attention to it that we might have in different circumstances. However, when a garden is meant to be, it’s meant to be, and the garden angels swooped down to give us some hope.

freshly made raised beds
Rachael Dupree

By garden angels, I mean our friend—let’s call him Farmer D. Farmer D has been doing this growing-food thing a lot longer than we have and has a genuine love and respect for the land. He showed up at our place last Friday with his walk-behind tractor and not only tilled up our garden but built some beautiful raised beds that we could plant in. I’m not sure whether he realizes how this kind gesture affected my morale. Before last week, I’d resigned myself to the idea that the plants I started—the first I’d ever started from seed on my own—would become compost fodder. But now, they’re in the ground and on their way to becoming the ingredients for some delicious summer meals.

Mr. B transplanting tomatoes
Rachael Dupree

As soon as we saw our fresh new beds, Mr. B and I got to work to put our plant babies in the ground. Over the course of an evening and morning, we planted 104 plants. There’s okra, tomatoes, peppers, yellow squash, butternut squash, cucumbers, pumpkins and melons. I must say, they look mighty happy in their new home—and I can’t really blame them, after months of being cooped up in tiny seed trays. Now, we’re working to get drip tape laid and the electric fence erected to protect them from what I call “the deers with no fears.” (We’ve apparently made this place too comfortable of a home for our deer friends, and they barely bat an eye at us when we pass by.)

squash transplant
Rachael Dupree

Before moving to our land, I never realized the community that was necessary for growing a garden. In town, in our garden that was hidden behind a privacy fence, it was my hobby to do what I wanted with. Out here, it’s a whole new ballgame. I’ve had to humble myself and rely on the help and kindness of friends and neighbors, often with little to offer in return. I hope that as we continue to get things settled on the homestead and as we acquire the confidence to continue on our garden projects with more independence, we’ll remember the care that was given to us and be able to pay it forward.

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