The soil was so dusty at the garden this evening that my son and I felt like we were cultivating plant life on the moon. Each scrape of his rake over the dry earth created puffs of choking, brown dirt clouds, and the bottoms of our tennis shoes left pock marks and craters resembling the moon’s surface.
Underneath all that dust must be rich, moist soil because the radish seeds we planted less than a week ago have poked up out of the ground, and two volunteer melons have started to grow. The tomatoes and beans have a great start, too.
“There are so many rocks,” my son observed as we watered the plants and watched our alien shadows – long and lean – dance over the rows. My son started making shadow puppets of birds on the dry field background. I marveled at the shadows flowing from the fence.
One thing we have avoided so far is weeds. A couple of neighboring plots have been inundated with the unwanted green, but our surface remains chalky and brown with only a few mystery sprigs scattered amongst the rows.
“I feel like if I weed now, I might pull up some of the plants we are trying to grow,” my son said, browsing our moonscape.
I agreed. It’s difficult to distinguish the difference between a potential vegetable and a nuisance at this stage. I handed him a rake so he could erase our footprints from the paths. Raking is our favorite defense against weeds.
While he worked I got curious and took my own moonwalk – not the Michael Jackson kind — from the cucumber mounds over to the popcorn. Neither one of these crops were showing signs of growth.
“Mom!” my son exclaimed seeing where I walked. I thought I had stepped on important plants the way he called my name. “I’m going to have to rake that half of the garden again.”
Puzzled, I looked down. My footprints covered much of the rows he had raked already. I apologized and moved outside the fence.
“That’s okay,” he said. “It’s an easy fix.”
And I figure the dusty surface of our moon-like plot is an easy fix, too. It just needs some water. Come on rain. Help us out.