Back Again, by Georgia Totten

I ended my last season a but abruptly due to a few health concerns, but am back in the garden saddle for another year.  My venture into the yard this afternoon was to clean up after my English springer spaniel (she joined me just before Thanksgiving and is now just eight months old) and do a bit more raking of the tree debris in the back yard.  The city has picked up curbside in my neighborhood twice now, and will likely have to make a third trip around, and indeed, I see that is scheduled for Monday May 13th in my part of town. There are still piles and piles of limbs in the boulevard. Thought I had my own cleaned up and bagged, but the city trimmed my boulevard trees and so the (slightly smaller) mess is back again. Still I am grateful for the assistance.  I am 62 years old this season, and still a little asthmatic, so looking forward to the end of that routine. 

This spring season will go on record as being the most destructive in most of our memories.  I remember the blizzard of 1967 (I was still at home as a teenager in northwest Indiana that year) and it was bad. Although winter wasn’t all that difficult for us locally this year, the ice storm was the worst I’ve ever experienced.  I actually turned on an electric fan to drown out the sound of breaking tree limbs early on. It was like something out of The Lord of the Rings, terrible, sad destruction of our natural world.  Yet nature rebounds.  I was one of the lucky ones.  Near twenty-year-old trees planted by my late husband were damaged, but not lost.

So this afternoon my raised garden beds were just manageable, and I put in a measly two tomato plants and two Anaheim peppers, and the chives my Minneapolis girl gave me last season came back again.  This year, I will have to protect them not only from the foraging critters (squirrels and those rascally rabbits) but also from my puppy Molly, who has a penchant for chewing sticks, rocks, and probably garden plants.  She has thwarted the local mallard duck pair from re-nesting in my yard however, and that is a good thing.  As you may recall, I never did get to see those little ducklings last year.  They hatched and left in one big hurry.  

So the garden centers are full of plants.  I would urge all to check out the Market offerings first.  They are locally grown and will do well in our area.  My four plants were started from seeds I managed to save from the plants I bought from Seedtime and Harvest last year.  Two of each is all that I could muster, but it’s a small start.  I will purchase more from them next week.  They are certified organic and were they ever good. 

Here’s a success story!  Last fall I picked up some tulip and daffodil bulbs at the end of the season, and never got them into the ground.  Well, the tulip bulbs rotted, but the daffodils still looked firm from their spot on my garage shelf in February.  I potted them in a big planter on my deck in that month, hoping they would survive. They did!  I have daffodils peeking through the potting soil.  I believe our moderate late winter temps helped in this, but am not sure they would survive one of our complete harsh winters in a pot.  I’ll post some directions I found in a magazine on the MontereyPeninsula in California of all places, during my Easter week visit to my son and his family this year.  Hoping to experiment with those directions later on, fall and winter into next spring and I will keep an update going.

 This year, just turned nine on May 4th granddaughter Piper says she wants to have her own garden, so I am giving her 2/3 of one of my raised beds (the other 1/3 has a second year asparagus bed in it).  We will purchase seeds this weekend for her favorite carrots, lettuce and green beans.  Photos and progress reports will be posted throughout the season.  It’s a great way to get children involved in growing things and learning where their food comes from. 

 In the meantime, enjoy the temperate weather and let’s get planting.  Just keep an eye on the nighttime lows for the next few weeks and be ready to cover as needed.  Looks like we may have a cold dip overnight Saturday, but Sunday looks good.