Monday, January 02, 2006

Reclaiming the garden

I've been a long-time holder (and occasional gardener) of a community garden plot, but with all the writing work, I've let it go to rack and ruin (until this afternoon it was a 20x20 plot of bermuda grass and dead sunflower stalks). But I love gardening; I love digging in the dirt, planting lettuces and potatoes and coaxing them out of the dark soil, love the contrast of velvet purple pansies against the bluish-green of climbing pea plants...

So the vote was put before the family, and the family said 'keep it'. And today, an unseasonably high-seventies day with a boundless blue sky and a lemon yellow sun, down we went, and after the kids and I cleared the dead grass out and the kids wheelbarrowed it over to the giant compost pile, Eric tilled it, and now it's a velvety square of brown earth (with a few bermuda grass stalks sticking out), waiting to be seeded...

We're headed down to the Natural Gardener tomorrow, in search of lettuce seeds, larkspur, poppies, carrots, turnips and arugula (although the harlequin bugs have their way with the crucifers in late spring). Peas would be wonderful -- the trellises have been cleared of the remains of that lovely vine that took them over last year -- fine, feathery green leaves and brilliant scarlet flowers, and although I know most plants, that one's still a mystery to me. The pretty pink four o'clocks that grow like weeds near the faucet in the summer have escaped their bounds and are now running wild along the banks of the river, and I'm afraid the community garden has given rise to yet another invasive, but what can I do? At least they're pretty. Ian, of course, wants to plant tomatoes, but we can't do that until March -- and all my tomatoes always get some kind of weird rot and keel over anyway, with the exception of the cherry tomatoes. The fire ants are active still -- have to douse them -- I watered today to coax the weed seeds out, so I can plow them down once they sprout. It's been a dry, warm winter -- which made today much easier, since the weeds were all half-dead or dead already.

So, the garden has been tilled, the seeds will soon be sown, and in a few months' time, with any luck we'll be eating fresh broccoli, fresh lettuce, and spring onions (potatoes don't go in till February) and hopefully, cutting huge bunches of larkspur for the vase on the kitchen table.

I do hope we get another few cold snaps, though; It's been in the eighties here, and I'm worried what the summer will bring if it's swimming weather in January!


At 11:55 AM, January 03, 2006, Blogger Mary Louisa said...

Good heavens, Karen, you HAVE gotten an early start! I'm jealous of your fair weather. Delaware is the farthest north I've ever lived, and even though it's fairly temperate, the vegetable growing season starts too late for my tastes. Ummm, forgive the pun. I'm only just now preparing the list of seeds I'll order.


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