Garden journal, 2/22/14

Finally got around to cleaning out the third bed, but realized as I was doing so that the boards were more rotten than I had realized.  So, that was more time than I had anticipated replacing the long boards and pouring libations over the short ones, hoping to get one more season out of the poor things.


I only got it half-planted before I had to come in to start dinner (enchiladas).  Garden peas in the northernmost row, spinach in the next one south.  There’s been no evidence of varmint activity in the first two beds, which is sort of a surprise.  High today was 65, low is supposed to be 41.  No rain today, but we got about two thirds of an inch Thursday night/Friday morning as the storm moved through.  Waiting for sprouts.

Garden journal, 2/18/14

I’ve been getting ready to go back to work tomorrow and getting Chris to actually sit down and read a paper book, so no planting time in the garden today.  I have two beds planted out of six, and three of the remaining need to have at least several boards replaced and compost added (and Hot Wheels cars to remove), so I’ll be going into the first-of-spring planting with only three beds until March.  We do what we can.

I have a thing for chard.  My dad grew it when I was growing up in the ’70s, and that was the only time I heard of it until I started gardening five years ago.  Like a lot of children, I wasn’t big on greens, but having learned to do what I want with it, I want a whole garden full of it.  This is the year that I try to garden year-round, and it’s going to be the foundation of that in the fall.

Barring catastrophe, we’ll be awash in the early spring produce soon.  Recipe up!


Since our most recent snOMG event/furlough began early last week, I have spent a fair amount of time camped out here at the dinner table, my peripheral vision primed for the fluttering of birds visiting the seed we’ve put on the back deck for them.  Chrome tabs open at nearly all times to and, Chris and I have been working on identifying as many of them as we could.  This has been partly for his benefit (Scout electives, general knowledge), but also for my own.  I’m trying to learn to pay attention to what’s happening around me again.

I don’t know if this is even close to what the Buddha meant by “mindfulness”.  It seems like it is, maybe.  Gardening has this effect as well.  Loosening soil with my hands, as I am wont to do, pulling weeds, smoothing the friable dirt, planting tiny carrot and lettuce seeds, learning to identify the cotyledons when your seeds sprout- I wouldn’t call it a spiritual practice, and I’m certainly not going to claim to have gained any particular wisdom from it.  But it does bring out a pretty granular level of detail in what I’m doing, and I can lose myself in it.

And as Cousin Isobel says, “That’s something, isn’t it?”


Garden journal, 2/17/14

Chris has, at long last, developed enough prefrontal cortex activity to listen to me when he asks to help in the garden. Our toddler friend up the street, not so much. A three-year-old sees you poking holes in the dirt and fixates on that, because poking holes in the dirt is fun, so now you have 1,348 holes in the dirt. You tell the three-year-old, “Only one seed at a time,” and she looks at you as if to say, “I like two seeds at a time, you moron, because they’re prettier that way.”

Kids are fun.

Today: eight square feet of sugar snap peas (four per sf) on the north side of bed 2. Next row south, another eight of ruby chard, four per…then Bloomsdale Longstanding spinach, again four per. Finally, three sf of French Breakfast radishes and five of icicle radishes, 12 per. Worked in some peat moss and moo-nure before planting, and can I just say that, even with as many years as Chris and I have been working on this garden, the fact that you can buy large bags of cow poo, and then dig around in it, never gets old for him.

High 67, low 42, and we may get a little rain tonight.

beginning again

I’ve always looked at people’s hands. You can tell a lot from a person’s hands – whether or not they chew their nails, work in industry or an office, how often they get their nails done. But it only goes so far. The only man I ever knew who got regular manicures with his nails glossed was an ex-Army Ranger and HALO jumper who had been part of the dirty wars in Central America in the 1980s. You never know.

Looking at my hands now, I see the thumbnail I smashed while camping back in October, finally growing out. There’s dirt imbedded under and around all the other nails from mucking around in the garden today, but this one is too short for that.

And that will serve as a guiding metaphor for this blog as well as anything will.

Initial planting, 2/16/14

After a hiatus last year to watch the garden get swallowed by weeds and depression, I started resurrecting the thing today. Eight square feet of garden peas (4 seeds per sf), four square feet of Fordhook Giant chard, four more of rainbow chard. Then I’m staggering plantings of lettuces and carrots – three sf of Black-Seeded Simpson lettuce, one of Little Gem (another to be planted early March), one sf of
Merveille des Quatre Saisons (another early March), and one of Tom Thumb (very small heads, pre-Civil War heirloom, with another to come in March). Carrots: one sf each of Jaune Obtuse, Little Finger, Kuroda Long, and Danvers Half-Long, each with another square to plant, yes, in early March.

And that’s one bed out of six.

High today of 62, forecast low of 35, no precipitation.

And we’re off!