Dirt Draws Kids

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Kate and I had our third (fourth?) spring garden class in Oxford on Sunday, and our guru revealed his double-wall polycarbonate cold frames, planted with lettuce two weeks ago, now completely bursting with wall-to-wall red and green lettuce. I am not a vegetable fetishist, but… well, I guess now I am a vegetable fetishist. That lettuce did things to me, man.

So Kate, Lydia, and I spent Sunday afternoon turning over one of our five-foot by five-foot beds, and adding a year’s worth of nice, black household compost to it. Which immediately drew a crowd of neighborhood kids, each of whom was delighted to help. You’re never more aware that garden tools are basically big, heavy pieces of sharpened metal on long sticks than when you have three five-to-eight-year-olds eagerly waving them around. Lydia, of course, was unutterably delighted to have the Big Kids around.

Things turned out really well; the bed (one of four, though we may only two two this year) is looking good, and Kate and I have a bunch of lettuce to get in the ground tonight(?) or tomorrow morning(?). Or sooner, if the Local Gardening Mafia keeps after us. A knock on the door at about six PM last night revealed one of the local, cherubic five-year-olds:

  • Cherubic Five-Year-Old [Gravely]: “You said that you were going to work in the garden today, and that you would tell us, and that we could help.”
  • Me: “Oh, you know, we spent today with Kate’s dad, and didn’t work in the garden. On Sunday, we said we might work in the garden today.”
  • C5YO [Even more gravely, after a pause]: “No, you said that you were going to work in the garden today, and that we could help.” [Glances significantly at hose]

Other kids were ranged out on the sidewalk, anxiously watching the result of the conversation, and hoping no doubt for some pre-bedtime pitchfork use. Clearly, we are now the proud owners of a Community Garden, and we’d better start considering our responsibilities.

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