Tag Archives: gardening

Heal after Hail.


Onions torn apart by our June hailstorm.

Through this local food year, gaining wisdom around food and life is one of our many desires. It feels much of this can only be attained through a full dive-in experience, allowing the good with the bad. We planted our garden in between all of the cool and nearly freezing days of May, only to experience the heatwave that was June.

Our garden responded in kind and it was only in the last week that I thought… yup, I think we might get some deliciousness soon as I spied the first teeny cucumbers and peppers. We even harvested our first three cherry tomatoes, popping them in our mouth and tasting the juice of a promise: summer has arrived.

I am not sure we fancy ourselves ‘farmers’ although several friends grant us this title. That being said, a couple evenings ago we felt one of the many hardships that a farmer endures. The devastation of weather.

Just writing that makes me tear up a bit. Not because our garden has been completely wiped out, but because I know that as intense and abusive as that hailstorm felt with its sideways wind, rain and the golfballs ricocheting against anything they touch, rather, I know how often weather is much worse for a farmer whose livelihood depends on their land.

I do not feel sadness because of my own loss, rather looking at our coleslaw of a garden I think of farmers past and present whose crops have been completely eliminated by the unforeseen. That depth of empathy, swallows me up as I assess the damage that is thankfully not that awful.

The truth is that hail, tornados, wind, fire, hurricanes, heat waves and all the possible or impossible seeming storms, are a part of life for a farmer, but as humans we have our own disasters that strike in large or small ways. When life is torn down, the force to start over gives fuel to the next attempt. And that is the important part, to rise up and try again.

A friend a few houses away commented about how the plants have become mulch for his garden. I was struck by his quick thought to honor this moment and recognize that while us modern gardeners can easily find mulch to buy, nature loves to get in and assist when possible. Actually, even before this storm, composting the devastation has been on my mind a lot as I consider recent dramas both personal and global. Finding ways to mulch our catastrophe can create the nutrients needed for the next harvest, or the next life cycle of growth.

The morning of the storm, when all was well in our gardens, I emailed a friend inquiring as to whether she had any produce to share at my city’s farmers market for our little Neighbor to Market stand. She responded that late evening letting me know she was wiped out by the hail. Then she said “I expect that with some time and lots of love, there will be plenty of offerings.” As I look below the chopped up foliage and leaves, I see that for some plants they had tented the baby growth below. Through that young growth, our garden will rebuild itself. But really…

Time and lots of love.  Isn’t that what everything needs to heal?


Nasturtiums, Arugula, Kale, Tomatoes, Summer Squash & Blossoms, Basil

It has been awhile since I have posted here, as this past year has been packed with distractions. But, I have to admit it has been overflowing with joy as we  moved back to Colorado, bought a new home and the peak of the year was welcoming our sweet, full of smiles, son into this world. Fortunately, Kaycie has been keeping you up on the beautiful ways to fill your life with health. I am ever grateful not only for her friendship, but her generosity to me and my family during this crazy, packed with blessings year.

One of the joys of buying a new home was finding one with a large (albeit abandoned) garden box. We have made attempts in the past to garden, but I often claim that despite two parents with a couple green thumbs each, I received a recessive gene with a sad brown thumb. Maybe, just maybe, with the help of experienced gardening friends, that will change…

We moved into our home on May 10th, my daughter’s birthday, and within a couple of week’s we sectioned half of the garden box off and filled it with dirt. We were only a couple of weeks behind Colorado’s recommended start time. We filled that half of the box with five tomato plants, radishes and a variety of my favorite greens including arugula, chard, two types of kale and a mix of lettuces.

The radishes came up and were harvested quickly. They were delicious, but they mostly inspired us to plant more. The tomatoes were the most exciting we have ever grown and they managed to take over the rows of greens we had planted. So, we filled the other side of the box with more of “Mel’s mix” as a dear family friend and master gardener recommended and then filled it with summer squash and several big pots of basil that I kept collecting from the grocery store.

I recently heard the biggest mistakes made by new gardeners is crowding and overwatering. We clearly fit the mold, but for the first time we were complaining about the abundance rather than the lack. Okay, we didn’t actually complain about the delights coming from our garden, rather we were thrilled and then we started looking at the rest of our backyard which was full of dirt, mud and weeds and examined the hours of sun in certain areas. We also have huge, old trees, so we mapped out a plan to expand our garden beyond the box and fill it with even more delicious food.

Our goal is to join those, such as my parents and Kaycie’s family, who eat most of their food from the garden all summer long. I cannot think of a better way to embrace your health then to start by bringing the freshness and nutrients as close to home as possible.

Just last week, we had our first snow and the following night our first frost here in the Denver metro area. A few days before, I looked around at the tomatoes that were started late, with half green, half almost red fruit all over it and the summer squash which seemed to have a rebirth after the intense rain storms and sunny weeks that followed. As I heard warnings of snow, I imagined these plants freezing and figured I would call my favorite Rocky Mountain gardener. When I called Kaycie she was in the process of harvesting everything she could from her plants and recommended I follow suit.

Later that day, just before dinner, we picked our final harvest. Within 48 hours most of the plants were shriveled and brown, but a week later we are still munching away on summer.

Have you harvested summer yet? Or are you still a few days/weeks from your first frost? Tell us about it in the comment section!

Happy Harvest Time! With joy,