Daniel's agricultural education

Since reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I've revisited the tiny, pathetic garden patch in my front yard. It's tiny because our yard is mostly shady, so there's not really enough sun for most vegetables, and it's pathetic because I've been negligent about weeding. I'm fairly unapologetic for this, actually. It just hasn't been the right summer for dedicated garden work: early pregnancy, the end of a doctorate looming large, a toddler who loves being outside but who doesn't understand the difference between a weed and something you want to leave in the ground...

I have a patch of tomatoes in the front yard, the part that gets the most sun. There's no part of our yard that gets an entire day of sun, but this little patch gets enough to yield a few tomatoes. They're small and late to ripen, but we get enough that it's worth the trouble, (though the fact that I didn't even bother to put tomato cages around them this year - something that involved all the work of bringing them up from the basement and sticking them in the ground - tells you how crappy I felt in June when it was time to do that.) There are a couple more factors that have limited our already-small tomato harvest, though: rat bastard squirrels who chew on the ripe fruits, and a certain little boy who likes to pick them.

A few days ago, the Danimal and I were in the front yard. It had rained recently (a good thing, as we badly needed rain here), and the ground was soft and sort of muddy, the perfect condition for pulling weeds. Daniel, who's hit this wonderfully sweet and funny and occasionally frustrating stage of wanting to help with everything, was eager to carry the weeds I'd pulled to the weed pile I've started next to the house; he dropped most of them in the right spot. But then he saw me picking some ripe tomatoes. Of course, he wanted to be involved in that, too. The thing about my son, delightful as he is, is that his enthusiasm for certain tasks will sometimes surpass his understanding of how exactly they are to be done (see above re: the difference between weeds and pretty flowers). He can pick tomatoes, all right, but he doesn't always stick to the ripe ones. I've tried pointing out several times that the green-ish ones should be left on the vine, but that particular detail has yet to sink in. He also likes to squish them once they're picked. Fortunately, he sticks to the smaller cherry and grape tomatoes, ones that I don't mind being sacrificed for the sake of his agricultural education. I figure I should take advantage of this time before he's old enough to resent me for making him help in the garden.

Half the point of this post was to show you some pictures from this morning. Here's Daniel proudly holding his harvest:

Here's how he sorted each tomato he picked into an old seedling holder:

Here's Daniel chucking his find into the patch of thyme:

And here's just a good picture of him:


I can't get over how adorable he is. And I just love that last picture of him. You better print that one nice and big and frame it!
Pam said…
I agree! That last photo is priceless!! :-)

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