We didn’t plant at the best time. It was already hot by the time we completed our boxes and filled them with soil fit for growing.
We needed time to install a watering system and we also needed time to train Miss Elliott and Jessie to stay out of those apparently super-attractive boxes of dig-able dirt.
The blazing sun inspired us to order a sun shade, but the first one we got didn’t cover the whole farm. So we ordered a second one. And then the summer winds, which are hot and dry in Arizona and can be stronger than you’d think from a basically weather-less place, caused our metal supports to bend.
So we reinforced them – and by “we,” I mean Ron did. I think I held onto the wood as he drilled in the screws. And I definitely said “good job.”
And then we’d watch them pop up. One by one, and sometimes five by five, we could see the little seeds opening and climbing out of our mushroom-infused dirt (because, moisture) and it was the coolest thing on really hot days.
The ones that didn’t climb out? We’d say a little something about how hard they tried, and quickly drop a replacement seed into a new hole and see if that one would sprout.
Each of the kids planted something. Each got excited about our watermelons, which haven’t done anything. And a few got more excited than others about our beans and our cantaloupes – the overachievers of the entire farm.
And now we have a bowl of soybeans, which we plan to steam and eat – after sprinkling some salt and a spicy rub on them, maybe. They were harvested from one of our smallest boxes, one that we filled entirely with compost, one that performed the best when measured by its yield.
The same seeds, in a box that mixed compost and gardening soil, grew but never sprouted beans. Isn’t that an interesting case study? Under the exact same conditions, the full compost performed best, by far and away.
It’s what you learn, I guess. We knew going into this first round of plants that we’d probably not yield much. We’d use this crop to prepare the soil for fall, when it’s nice enough to actually walk outside in Phoenix.
We didn’t even know when soybeans would be ready to harvest. Like, when they were done. But we figured it out. I also didn’t know they were a little hairy – not judging. But they are.
I didn’t know cantaloupe crawled out from its seeded spot with vines, like Cinderella’s pumpkin. I didn’t know cucumbers couldn’t hang in the heat, and I totally thought our pumpkins would be a little less sissy than they are.
It’s all why you do something, right? To learn from it. Which is why we’re going to figure out how to make these soybeans into the most delicious edamame possible.