**This is an archived blog post from May 17, 2011**


Harvesting Spinach

There are many times in life when one must pause for a moment and think about victory. I’m not speaking of winning a big game or getting a bonus at work…not those sort of victories. I’m speaking of the smaller victories that make each day worth pushing through, especially if you have been wondering what all your hard work is producing.

I am celebrating a few recent recent victories. First, the success of several of our (my family’s) plants. This is only our second year growing a veggie garden, yet we have seen great rewards each year. We have set our goals quite high this year and acquired seeds for a vast variety of plants, some for vegetables we have never eaten but feel we must give a chance.


White Hailstone Radishes


Variety of Greens

In the past two weeks, we have harvested a good amount of dwarf bok choy, lettuces, spinach, and radishes. We have three raised garden beds that my husband constructed out of repurposed fence boards and they have proven to work quite well. We have learned to accept and appreciate certain things about our home and its property, even if it is not the country home we dream of. For example, we have a corner lot which gives us considerably more yard space than most in our neighborhood, so we have dedicated our entire side yard (which gets full-sun and thus is the perfect place for a garden) to growing our own food. This acceptance is in itself a victory for a married couple that thrives too much, at times, on instant gratification. The success and harvesting of the foods we grow is another great victory.


J.J. Eating Pak Bok Choy Flowers


J.J. Eating Spinach

Another wonderful victory is that of our picky-eating little buddy eating fresh greens and other things. J.J. loves to eat spinach plucked right out of the garden. We grow everything organically, so we will simply get a leaf or two, brush off the dirt and give it to him. He also enjoyed devouring some pak bok choy flowers from the plants we are letting go to seed. They taste a bit like fresh broccoli, so hopefully we can get him to eat broccoli in the future! I am amazed and appreciative of J.J.’s willingness to eat fresh food in this way. It seems as though he is more willing to do so when he sees that it came from our garden. I assure you we have tried giving him several fresh fruits and vegetables in the past but he has refused to eat them. Our garden has opened more doors for us to provide a good diet of raw food for our son, and that alone is reason enough to continue to grow our own food.

On another note, completely unrelated to gardening…J.J. just got his teeth cleaned at the dentist for the first time yesterday. This is a monumental success, I assure you. We have been taking him to the dentist once a month, sometimes once every two weeks, for almost two years now…. just to get him to the point where he feels comfortable enough with the personnel, the environment, and the the sensations of the dental equipment to allow them to clean his teeth. I feel fortunate to have found a dentist that has experience with children with Autism and he is very, very accomodating. They have been wonderful, and as you can imagine, J.J. is quite familiar with every single person in that office. He has come to love going to the dentist, even though in the beginning he would kick, scream, and cry as soon as we would pass through the waiting room door to enter the area with the dental chairs.

It was once intensely overwhelming for him, but after countless visits and rewards in the form of ever-precious stickers, J.J. now deems it a supportive and enjoyable environment. It is beyond my capacity of words to describe how proud of J.J. I am. My husband and I, as well as many others in our son’s life, work very hard for him and with him to ensure that he progresses through life. Yet I must also tip my hat to J.J. I can only imagine how difficult life can be for him at times, how tiring it can be to get through a normal day’s sensory invasions… I have a tough little buddy that is capable of great things. And that is the greatest victory of all.


5 thoughts on “Victory

    • It depends on what kind of animals you have problems with. The only “wild” animals we have had visit our garden are rabbits, cats, birds, and of course insects. We have a lot of clover and dandelions in our lawn area, which the rabbits prefer to eat over our vegetables. However, my sister has had problems with them in her neighborhood with a Homeowners’ Association and “weeds” in their lawns are frowned upon. So if you have problems with rabbits, maybe try making sure there are plenty of other things for them to eat. It’s not always about keeping them out and all the food for ourselves — ideally we should grow enough for ourselves and them, although I know this is not always possible.

      The neighborhood feral cats are our current and biggest problem. The population has seemed to explode over the past year or so. Since our town has no animal control or animal shelter to take care of the cats for us, we are stuck trying to handle it ourselves as humanely as possible. Honestly we are still unsure about what to do about them — which is upsetting when they use our yard for a litter box.

      If you have problems with birds eating your fruit crops, trying bird netting over the plants or growing other kinds of fruits or seeds that they like or have a few bird feeders with a variety of options for the multiple species which may grace your outdoor space.

      Insects — biodiversity is always a great way to make sure you have a good amount of helpful insects to take care of some of the harmful insects for you. We will be getting chickens this spring to also help with the insect population in our garden. They are great at foraging and controlling insect populations while at the same time getting healthy protein for themselves.

      I hope at least some of this was helpful! Healthy soil, organic and natural growing methods, biodiversity, and having enough to share are always great places to start in having a productive garden free of pests.

      • Thanks for your response. My main problem are birds and squirrels, but it seems you have no squirrels where you are. I’m really glad you’re getting chickens though, they are great animals to have!

      • Squirrels do frequent our yard…I guess they are not much of a problem, so I completely forgot about them! The only things those rascals have ever taken are the heads from our sunflowers (so we just plant a lot of them) and the seed from the birdfeeders.

      • Oh yeah, the squirrels here love the seeds from bird feeders. I guess the solution is just to plant double what you need! And distraction plants. I’ve thought about maybe building a greenhouse, but that would be quite costly.

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