Gardening Tips from My Mom

I don’t feel like talking about much today.
I just keep looking out my window at my garden.

And remembering when my mom was in it just a few short weeks ago.

How she jumped straight into my jungle of weeds, dirt and veg, and made it seem perfect again.

I keep thinking about how she dug some holes and then threw in the fish carcasses, to help my garden thrive.

I keep thinking about how strong her hands are, veiny, with beautiful pink nails with white tips, not too long. Not too short. And how she still wears her high school ring with the deep blue stone on her ring finger.

I’m remembering how she just throws herself into the dirt. Never worrying that her knees might get dirty, or her hair might be a tangled mess. She just jumps in. Feet first. Full force. Task at hand. Mind and spirit in tune.

I can remember her mumbling to me, “Come here, Nicole. Now look. I’m cutting down the basil. It’s flowering. You need to cut it down into shorter bushes.”

And the peppers. “They’re not getting enough sun. Let’s move them over here.” As she gestures to me to help out. But I just take out my camera, and I snap, snap, snap away. Not helping her one bit. Because I want to remember this moment forever. Her in my garden. Light shining down. Sweat on her brow. Dirt on her knees. Beauty in it’s simplest form.

As she tugs on old vines, and replants new ones, tiny cherry tomatoes fall. She carves out a tiny hole for them and covers them up as if it’s a tiny vegetable burial ground. “Why are you doing that?” I lean closer.

“Oh. Maybe one day, it’ll come back for you. Maybe one day, it’ll grow into a plant with sweet juicy fruit.” She grunts, squatting and leaning over to pull another weed.

Eternally optimistic. She has the soul of a gardener. And the patience of whoever has a lot of patience.  I would have thrown that bad boy away, and called it a day.

By now it’s 3 weeks later. . . . . . and that darn cat has stolen 6 of the seven new tomato plants she sowed. There is one left, and of course, because it was touched by her it is thriving. Along with the other tomato plants that I could have sworn were dead. They weren’t. They just needed her. And now look at them. Giving me juicy fruit every few days.

And my hanging baskets that my mother religiously watered everyday, are shriveled up due to the heat, and not enough water.

“Remember to water the hanging baskets!”

Ooops. My bad.

But the squash that she planted, have grown by leaps and bounds, and they are flowering, no doubt benefiting from the fish guts she added to my soil.

My silly little girls are just awaiting for the cucumber plants that Nana helped me pick out, to flower and grow.

So today, I think I won’t write so much.
I think I’ll channel my mother and Neil Sperry and go stake my cucumbers.
And I’ll mark any seeds that I might plant (which I usually don’t do) with a stick I have lying around, so that when the seedling emerges I know it’s my veg, and not a weed.

Cukes. Grass clippings courtesy of Mr. Woo and his wacky weed eater. I know, I know. I should mulch.

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20 thoughts on “Gardening Tips from My Mom

  1. Impressed.  I do not garden, or plant, or really even water…anything.  Your garden is beautiful, and so are it’s fruit.  I am a little jealous, but I guess I can’t be too jealous, if I’m not willing to do the work…I guess I could call my Mom…hmm, good thought!

    1. You make me laugh! Yes, you should call your mom.  She’ll do an even better garden for you, than she would for herself. They are great like that:)

  2. Oh, this is so sweet, I’m tearing up. Good Job to your Mom and to you for sharing her with us.

  3. That’s awesome… I so want a raised garden just have not gotten to it yet.  Fish carcass?  For bugs I assume, so people just buy worms (like nightcrawlers) and put them in, but yo mama is voodoo and she knows better then to just do it that way.  I want all her wisdom, pleeaassee.

    1. Thanks. Actually, the fish is used as a fertilizer. Gardeners have been using it for 1000’s of years. You can even find fish emulsions. fish meals and fish hydro. . .something or others. I don’t know if the bugs like it, but the veggies sure do!

  4. Those tomatoes look perfect for a great salsa recipe or to be eaten fresh off the vine.  

    We are both lucky to have mothers who are soul gardeners.  I can swear her vegetables tremble when I pass by as if they sense the reaper.  I truly do have a brown thumb.I am loving all these drinks and peanut brittle recipes on your blog.  Happy you stopped by; otherwise I wouldn’t have the pleasure of meeting you.  Enjoy your week.Mila, your newest follower from

    1. Thanks for coming by Mila.

      I love that term “Soul Gardener”. That is perfect and so mysterious sounding. I’m definitely going to use that over again. Don’t worry I WON’T give you the credit. Kidding, Kidding. Everytime I use it, I totes will plug your blog, and tell everyone you’re genius 🙂

  5. Awwww! Your mom is so pretty! Some people are just gifted that way. Everything they touch thrives! ! Those tomatoes look scrumptious!

    1. Oh man! The tomatoes this year were OUT OF THIS WORLD. So super sweet. I’m going to try and grow some this fall. I hope they are just as lovely. Ps- I’ll tell her you said she is pretty. . . .but I know she’s gonna say. . . .oh please. She doesn’t take compliments all that well :l)

    1. I keep telling her I’m such a good daughter. I’m not sure she’s falling for it. She really was a little ticked at me for not putting my camera down and helping 🙂

  6. What a neat blog, Nikki.  Thanks for sharing.  What an amazing gift your Mom is giving you!  No doubt you will pass it on… 

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