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What’s Your Favorite Chore?

Please leave a comment identifying the gardening chore that you enjoy above all others.

As spring slowly gets rolling in my home kitchen garden, I’m doing a few gardening tasks that I particularly enjoy. I’ve finished pruning my fruit trees, and have made about three dozen grafts (here, in reverse order, are posts in which I wrote about pruning and grafting apple trees). I love pruning and grafting because it gets me outdoors in trees while most people are still indoors awaiting warmer weather. There are few times when unadulterated sounds of nature are so audible in my yard.

To pollinate squash or pumpkins, I pick a male flower, tear off its petals, and rub the stamen/anther structure around on the pistols of any open fruiting flowers. Since I started doing this, my squash and pumpkins in my home kitchen garden have been reliably prolific.

With the temperature finally climbing, I plan to lay out some rows in my garden, and start peas, spinach, lettuce, and, perhaps, cilantro during the weekend. The prospect of working in the garden has me a little jazzed, but I admit that I don’t care for some spring gardening chores. I don’t till the whole garden; I turn soil directly where I’m planting. However, I also dig out every weed that I ignored through last year’s growing season. I don’t enjoy weeding, so I reserve the job for early spring when I have greatest enthusiasm for gardening.

Chore Anticipation

As I’ve completed my cherished late-winter tasks, and I anticipate the early spring weeding and planting, I realize I’m looking forward to some specific gardening moments that won’t come until later in the season. Harvesting just about anything is right up there on my list of favorites. Even better is cooking with the harvested produce. I especially love to make new potatoes and peas (I meant to share this mid-winter, but now it’ll have to wait until I’m picking peas), and nothing beats this awesome tomato salad.

Still, there’s one gardening chore that I anticipate more than any other: pollinating squash and pumpkins.

Growing Squash and Pumpkins

A pumpkin surrounded by squash and (shudder) gourds from my home kitchen garden. In a moment of weakness, I planted gourds one season and they came back on their own for two more years. My attitude now: if I’m not going to eat it, I’m not planting it.

In my first year growing squash and pumpkins, I felt some despair when I’d notice a female flower blossom and then, a few days later, fall off the plant along with the fruit. Eventually, I guessed that only pollinated squash and pumpkin flowers grow into fruit, so I initiated the morning pollination patrol.

In the cool of each summer morning, I pluck a male squash flower and strip away its petals. Then I wade among the squash plants, and use the stamen/anther of the flower I hold to paint the pistols of any female flowers I find in bloom.

I listen to birds sing, I watch bees work, I enjoy textures and aromas of the vegetable plants, and I bask in the cool that will soon wilt under the rising sun. It takes about three minutes to spot all the squash flowers and pollinate the ones that fruit. Still, it takes about a half-hour for me to return from this gardening chore that I most enjoy.

What’s Yours?

Please share! Leave a comment describing the one garden chore that you enjoy above all others.

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8 Responses to The Best Time in my Home Kitchen Garden

  • Shane says:

    I don’t know what my favorite chore might be. I tend to slightly dread the beginning stage of planting and laying out the crops– that’s my wife’s specialty. I tended to have a favorite time more than a favorite chore. Last year was our first year with a victory garden in our front lawn. We planted it in April. By coincidence, by Memorial Day I was working from home as a freelancer.

    I found my mornings in the garden to be a great way to start my day with something I was enjoying. It was quite meditative to start each morning with a visit to the garden to see what needed watering or pruning, to harvest the items ready for the kitchen, and to take care of the general up-keep. During that time, not only was I getting to relax in the garden, but I found that (because the garden was in the front yard) I was getting to spend time chatting with my folks who happened to stroll by the yard (retired neighbors, dog walkers, bicyclists, neighborhood children in the summer, the mailman, etc.).

    It reinforced for me that the garden was not only accomplishing some of our original goals– extend our food budget and put an emphasis on locally-grown food into our diet, cut down on our carbon footprint, etc.– but it was also reconnecting me with my immediate community. My neighbors (and my mailman) were no longer faceless; they were real people once again.

    So, I don’t know if I can pinpoint a favorite chore. I can only say that I enjoyed the time spent there and look forward to this year’s season, too.

  • Daisy says:

    Hard to pinpoint, but I’ll go with my first reaction. Composting, of course. Weeding, too. Honestly! My day job is fast paced and stressful; spending my summer away from the phone digging weeds out of the dirt, nurturing my veggies, and letting the compost take its time, all help me regain my calm and my sanity.

  • Sikantis says:

    Everything about gardening is great. I’m interested in green gardening.

  • Wendy says:

    Pruning is my favorite garden chore. I love to clean up the garden and make way for new growth.

  • John says:

    Love to mow my grass when everything else is in order and planted!–then sit on the terrace and look at it! :-)

  • Lisa says:

    Great question. I love pulling the winter mulch off to see the sprouts of spring. Still waiting to do that here in MN. :(
    Weeding is the seasonal favorite, so relaxing and I love the look of a freshly tended garden.

  • I am in my first year of veggie gardening, so I don’t have a lot to base this on. But so far, I am very much enjoying seed starting on my (unheated) sun porch. Watching those little seedlings bravely stretch out from beneath their blanket of soil stirs the soul.

  • My Friend Asked me to Read your Post The Best Time in my Home Kitchen Garden | Your Home Kitchen Garden on Thursday.Your post is Well written.Please Keep it up .I Love reading on home and garden.

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