Hello. It’s been as while. Please forgive my absence from this blog. I’ve had a lot going on lately. We had a baby last month and I was home for a few weeks helping around the house. I am extremely thankful for the generous paternity leave Rodale gave me. It made such a huge difference to my family and me. Besides being around to help with the new baby, I was also lucky enough to get to spend an unprecedented amount of time with my almost-3 year old daughter. Together, we spent a lot of time working and playing in the garden.
I’ll give you a quick tour:
You can see the pea trellis in the foreground and the bean teepee in the background. In a few months that teepee will be a cool and shady hideout for my daughter.
The zucchini we started indoors finally made it’s way to the garden. This is our first blossom. Fresh zucchini is right around the corner.
And our potatoes are starting to push through the straw mulch.
This is what I call strategic volunteer cilantro. After last year’s plants went to seed, I broadcast the seeds along the fence on the southwest corner of the garden. It should make a nice herb border that attracts lots of beneficial insects.
We also planted four rows of corn and two rows of bush beans on the east side of the garden. I tried the three sisters here last year, but the squash bugs were terrible and they seemed to have their way with my corn too. So I’m not planting any winter squash this year.
And finally, here are the turnips I planted last September, gone to seed. The turnip roots were awesome in the late fall, and the turnip greens were tasty in early spring. It’s amazing what will survive over the winter with a good layer of mulch.
It’s just about the dead middle of winter. I’ve been paging through seed catalogs, dreaming about planting peas, wondering how I’ll do my potatoes this year.
But here’s the thing: We’re looking to buy a house, my wife and I. We have a daughter who’s 2 and half, and we’re expecting a baby in May. Our house, however nicely situated in the world with its privacy and open space, is about to get too small, and it’s already too expensive to heat.
So my where does this leave my garden? Do I start seeds, do I prepare myself mentally for the spring, knowing full well that we might move and leave it all behind?
Yes. Of course I do. I’ll order my seeds. I’ll start them in the basement. I’ll plant my peas on St. Patty’s Day, I’ll plant my taters on Good Friday (actually, I just looked at the calendar and Good Friday is really late this year, so I’ll get the taters in sooner), and I’ll get things ready the way I always do. It’s part of who I am. I garden.
I wonder if it would count as working from home if I didn’t come in tomorrow, stayed home, and finished my raised beds. I have two of them built, one of which is partially double dug. The other is just a frame. I intend to build three, maybe four more of these.
I know I should probably use something longer-lasting then untreated pine 2×10s, but that’s what I bought, so that’s what I’ll use. I know if I had an uninterrupted 8 hours I could get all the beds ready to go. I don’t think I’ve ever had an uninterrupted 8 hours ever in my entire life.
I can’t complain. It’s only April and I have a lot planted already. The peas were first. Then the potatoes and spinach. Brussels a few weeks ago.
Monday morning I planted my kohlrabi, bok choi, and arugula. I bought these cool weather crops at the Rodale Institute’s plant sale last Friday. I also bought some broccoli, mint, foxgloves, and a columbine.
My potatoes are out of the ground already, and we might be eating baby spinach in a week or so.
The thing I’m very excited about is my pumpkin patch. I haven’t planted it yet, but I’ve cleared a spot up in our meadow for it. It’ll be more of a squash patch. I’ll have lots of winter squash up there. Delicata, butternut, maybe acorn. Might even throw some beans and corn in for the 3 Sisters effect. Haven’t decided if I’ll put my summer squash in this new squash patch, or down in one of the as-of-yet un-built raised beds.
And of course there will be pumpkins—big ones, little ones, orange, white, maybe even blue. I love pumpkins. Not sure why. One of my dreams is to grow giant pumpkins. You know: Prizewinners. The kind you could carve out and live in if you had to. The kind you could float down a river in. That’s what I’m talking about. Giant pumpkins.
I had some help with my potatoes on Friday. My daughter is 19 months old and was very excited to be helping daddy in the garden. She told me that the potatoes were sleeping, and she said goodnight to each one as we covered them up with dirt.
Last Saturday I made ready a place for my taters. I double dug a twenty foot row and added some nice rich organic compost. I’m not going to plant the tubers just yet, though.
This year I want to see what superstition and folklore have to offer. I’m curious about moon planting. They say you should plant root crops during the waning moon. The full moon was last night, so I’m free to plant my taters any time in the next two weeks.
But there is another piece of folklore that plays into my planting schedule: Pagan ritual wrapped in Christian tradition. Eostre was a pagan moon festival that celebrated nature’s rebirth in Spring, upon which was superimposed the Christian holiday of Easter. Through the years this moon ritual has quietly survived in the tradition of planting potatoes on Good Friday. Conveniently enough, this Friday is Good Friday and my Yukon Golds will go subterranean.
I took some pictures this morning: the garden and the pea.