“Inch by inch, row by row…

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Gonna make my garden grow.” It is one of my favorite songs, and it is by Arlo Guthrie. Funny that song is on my personal CD mix that I would listen to and sing along with as I drove the back roads in Wisconsin last month. Funny, because when I got home to my tiny house in North Carolina, my garden was grown!

When I left at the end of April, almost as my sister and I were pulling out of the driveway, I was throwing out cucumber and kale seeds and tamping down roots of a tomato plant, and three pepper plants in my raised garden bed. I was delighted to return to a volunteer cherry tomato vine, green regular-sized tomatoes, and all-ready-to-be-harvested cucumbers and banana peppers. This week, I have “harvested” three ripe tomatoes, and so for supper tonight, I had a fresh salad with my home-grown veg. It was delightful

In my past life, I have grown humongus gardens. One summer I canned one hundred quarts of green beans and one hundred quarts of tomatoes. Really. We moved all those jars with us to Arizona in 1981. We ate them all, too. Since then, I have enjoyed lesser amounts of harvests, but ones just as satisfying. None have given me the thrill that this year’s produce has, well, produced.

I think there are a number of reasons. One, it was practically painless, as I planted, left, returned, and picked. Two, I wasn’t sure I would ever again care about such. I do. Three, loving myself enough to cook for myself, makes it delightful to fix food that I actually had a small hand in growing.

Three summers ago, I relished tomato sandwiches like I never had before. Those tomatoes came from Farmers’ Markets, and they were beautiful. This year, I am enjoying just plain sliced tomatoes sprinkled with coarse sea salt and ground pepper that I grew my ownself, sort of.

It wasn’t “inch by inch,” as I missed that part, and it wasn’t “row by row,” as my plants are packed in a box-garden-bed that is all of 14 square feet, parked at the end of my driveway. But God did “bless these seeds I sowed.” He kept “them safe below, until the rain came tumbling down.” I just love a miracle.

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