In just a few days I’ll be saying goodbye to my daughter as she leaves for college, embarking on a new adventure in her life.
And while I’m proud, thrilled, and excited for her, I can’t help but quietly mourn each passing minute that I have left before the quiet and emptiness takes her place.
My daughter has never been one of those kids that has absolutely loves gardening. She’s never bounded out of bed saying “what are we going to plant today, Mommy!” or “of course I’d love to go the nursery again with you!”.
Maybe it’s because she was such a cute little toddler so I’d make her endlessly pose in the garden for pics like these – ha!
Instead, she’d much rather lie in the sun with her dog while watching me garden. She’d rather catch the butterflies and lizards who visit, or to make various art projects to sprinkle around my garden.
Over the years, I’d try anything to get her out the garden having fun.
I know my plan was successful because as she’s grown up, I’d hear the occasional gardening tidbit pop out of her mouth (to her chagrin, of course, because like all newly independent teenagers, God forbid she sound like her mother.)
I once even overheard her telling a friend ‘Oh yeah, that’s our hydrangea – my favorite flower’. Yes, my heart skipped a beat.
One of my favorite comments came yesterday.
As we were lying in her bed, quietly gazing out of her window she began to tear up.
She told me she was going to miss seeing the tiny green pyracantha berries turn red, followed by the fun of spying on the robins gorging themselves on the ripe fruit.
We’ve watched those berries (and the drunk birds) for years.
We loved our little ritual of starting each winter morning checking the progress of the berries before she went off to school.
It warms my heart that these gardening moments have permanently lodged themselves in her memory.
I know of other mothers who are going through the same transition in their lives, and it makes me laugh at what our different focuses are right now.
I know one mother who is bound and determined to make sure her daughter knows how to be as self-sufficient as possible while she’s away. My other friend is busy making all of her son’s favorite meals – and I mean all of them.
It dawned on me that my focus this summer has been to make sure I send her off full of last minute gardening memories.
This year I had time for one last project – sprouting beans.
I was recently sent a few packets of seeds by Botanical Interests (have you seen these seed packets before? The artwork is stunning!)
Since we both love our summer salads, I thought I’d show my daughter just how easy it is to grow her own sprouts.
First, it’s really important to disinfect the beans with a mild bleach solution to kill any possible E. Coli bacteria that might be present.
A teaspoon of bleach per cup of hot tap water is enough to do it – just soak the beans for 15 minutes then thoroughly rinse.
Then rinse again.
Once the beans are drained, put them in a quart-sized jar, out of direct light, and securely cover with a piece of cheesecloth.
It’s important to have plenty of air circulation, so only use about 2 Tbs. of beans per quart.
Every day, fill the jar with a bit of water, swish the beans around to rinse, then thoroughly drain the water out.
It’s important that the beans are well-drained before covering them back up with the cheesecloth. This rinsing routine prevents germs from growing in standing water.
Rinse, drain and repeat a few times each day, for 3-5 days.
Once the sprouts are about 1/2″ – 3/4″ long, they’re ready to eat.
Give them one last rinse and make sure they’re really well-drained well before storing them.
I store mine in a plastic bag with a paper towel tucked inside to soak up any moisture I might’ve missed. The sprouts should last at least 10 days.
Enjoy these last few weeks of summer everyone, and may your hearts (and stomachs) be full and your gardens glorious!