I lived off of River Road in a small one bedroom apartment when I began my love affair with gardening. I had just been diagnosed with Wilm’s Kidney Cancer stage III. Between the radical nephrectomy, the removal of a kidney, the chemotherapy and the radiation, I had a lot of recovering to do. During the worst of times, merely picking one weed gave me a sense of accomplishment.

We’ve been in the dome for fourteen years now. I don’t remember when I put in the first garden. Sylvia first had to deer-proof a large area. Blackberries had to be cut back. The first garden had a large tree in the middle. Maybe after a few years of rototilling around it, the tree gave up and fell over, giving me an  even bigger space. The stump of the tree, pictured below, keeps trying to grow, sending shoots.

IMG_7046Once the sun starts making an appearance, I get antsy and just have to get out in the dirt. March gave me some days where I planted potatoes, and they are just going crazy.

IMG_7050 (2)Between March and April, in between Spring showers I worked with the onions, working around the ones from last year, and adding some new ones. I hadn’t grown peas in that area, so I thought I’d give them a try in a new spot. Some parts of the garden area are fickle with clay soil. Every year, I was constantly amending the soil. I think it was last year that I didn’t have Sylvia rototill the ground with her tractor; this way I didn’t have to wait for the things to dry out, though the only problem with this method is I have quite a few large clay balls as a result of my digging.

IMG_7052For my birthday, Sylvia bought me four raised beds. I had always wanted raised beds. I managed to get three of them into the garden and planted before Abby the Labby Number Nine tripped me down the stairs.

IMG_7110 (2)I’ve never been much of a planner, especially when it comes to gardening. I just put things here and there, rotating crops to stay ahead of the pests, especially the western spotted and western striped cucumber beetles, my nemesis. Maybe the raised beds will help. I had a couple of Brussels Sprout plants winter over and the honey bees are especially thankful for the yellow flowers.

If you have ever gardened, you know that the tasks are endless. Now that I’ve been hobbled for more than a month, gardening is all that more challenging. I’m always telling myself that if I can just get things planted, I can sit back and watch things unfold and spread out. Having raised beds will make weeding easier, but as long as I keep throwing things in the ground, I’ll have plenty of weeding to do.

IMG_7070Most of the time, I’m not supposed to be limping around the garden. I compromised when I weeded the raspberries by sitting on the ground or lying on my side. It took me forever, but I got it done.

Now the strawberries are another story. I may need someone to come and pick them for me when all of these flowers start producing.

Once again, gardening has become my salvation. I earn my gardening time by staying off of my leg, and I feel so much better about going through another trying time of healing.



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