After a week neglected in the front yard, I finally had time to plant out the broccoli seedlings. The chickens helped clear the raised bed last week, and it only took a few minutes with a fork and a rake to finish the job:
The dirt is lovely, after almost two years fallow and no trampling, and needed very little working to loosen up. I make a goal of making dirt that I don’t have to use a shovel to plant in, and therefore this was perfect. I scooped some holes out, dropped some seedlings in, spread some mulch, and done:
The task did not end there, though, because I still had a lot of seedlings left over. I transferred most of the leftovers into newspaper pots, to give out to other people. I don’t know if anyone reads this in Seattle, but let me know if you want some broccoli starts; I have quite a few unspoken for:
But, the task was still not complete. This part is where I took a deep breath, made peace with the universe, and accepted one of the tenants of gardening: you don’t have to plant all the seeds that sprouted, and it’s okay to only devote energy and garden space to the most vigorous. This is paired with the tenant that there is no garden “waste” because anything not used goes on the compost pile. So, I transferred the best seedlings and didn’t weep over the less vigorous ones.
It’s times like this that I like to remember Elizabeth Zimmerman’s classic advice, given for cutting a basted armhole in a sweater: but applicable in so many different situations: “[do the task], then lie down in a darkened room for fifteen minutes to recover.” I think at another point she recommended having a stiff drink to soothe your nerves. Either way, I had to do neither in this case, but thinking of that advice helped the transition from “seedling I grew with my own hands” to “compostable material”.
Anyway, a day later, the planted-out broccoli is transitioning nicely, although I have to water it frequently while the roots recover; the plants get a little droopy in midday July sun:
Now, the slow march to harvest.