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Planting Turnips

Posted on September 10, 2016 at 7:05 PM

By the end of the summer, the garden has provided so much produce that we are overrun. We can as much as we are able, and the sight of those mason jars full of delectable summer goodness gives me such a warm feeling. I can’t put to words the feeling it gives you to put by your own store of food. It means I am not depending on someone else to have food available if it becomes necessary for me to get it. I am able to provide for my own family, without anyone’s help. During WWII, it was fashionable to plant a Victory Garden. It was a way for everyone to play a part in the war, to ensure that their family was not terribly affected by food shortages. During the winter, they would feast on the season’s tomatoes, corn and potatoes, and remember the warm barefoot days, the carefree breezes, and the soil that gave and gave.


By the end of the summer, I am ready for the garden to be done. But that is the time that I have to push myself to plant more. There are vegetables that love to be planted in late summer so that they can come to fruition in the late autumn. They love the insistent droning of the cicadas and crickets in the early afternoon; they love the way the power goes out of the sun in the late afternoon and the coolness that envelopes them. This is how I found myself planting turnips in early September. The dark, rich soil was only too happy to invite in the seeds. The insects that normally feasted on my plants had expended their life cycle, and I had hopes that these tiny seeds would come to life without anything to hamper them. It was the last thing I wanted to do, as I had spent several weeks pulling out the expended plants that had provided us with buckets and buckets of summer squash, corn, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers. I wanted nothing more than to wait for the leaves of autumn to fall and add them to my soil for next year’s bounty. But no, it was time for round two of my victory garden. As I ran my fingers in the soil, I could tell it was still rich and had much more to give. It begged for the chance to produce turnips, or even Swiss chard, carrots or snap peas. It was ready for its second act, and I needed to be ready also. I had only to turn over the soil and plant those pretty seeds and wait and hope.


There is something to be said for a second act in life. We use our first act, giving what was asked of us. But then we are attacked by insects, the heat of the sun, drought, or what have you, and we begin to falter. We think we are spent…we have nothing else to give. But then something interesting happens. Life begins to change by degrees. We begin to hear the cicadas, the crickets, the birds. We start to focus back in on what is important. The breeze changes, and we turn our faces towards the coolness of it, the smell of earth and the falling leaves. We start to dream again and the seeds are planted for a second act. We all have one inside of us, we just need someone to nudge us with a little turning of the soil, with cultivation of our strengths. Then we come alive again with green goodness and light.




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