Today I planted presprouted fava beans. My research indicates that they are similar to lima beans and they add a large amount of beneficial of nitrogen to the soil. Look at the sturdy tap root the seed sends out! These are Windsor Fava Beans, which are an heirloom variety from England that grow 48" tall. I also transplanted several varieties of heirloom tomatoes... some that I started from seed and others started from seed saved by the owners of Brambling Rows, a farm south of Brainerd where I pick raspberries July through September. They sell the tomato plants at Ace Hardware, which is one of my two favorite small town stores yet remaining from my childhood. (Little Farm Market, where I purchase seed potatoes, onion sets and transplants, and a few filler seeds to round out ones I've mail-ordered, is my other fav store.)
Today's planting was in honor of my father's May 20th birthday. When I was growing up on a 160-acre farm 10 miles southeast of Brainerd, it was tradition to plant on his birthday since we could generally assume that it was the beginning of frost-free nights and soil that had warmed sufficiently for seeds to germinate. My father died at the end of January 2004 at age 94, so each year on this day I spend time with him... just the two of us digging in the soil... tenderly remembering his walk on this earth and his "graceful exit". Journalist Ellen Goodman says, "There's a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over - and to let go. It means leaving what's over without denying its value." As my father let go of this world, I too have let go of him. I have released him, but he is still close... especially when I garden.