Fall is coming.

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Across April.

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“Puhpul flowers”

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“Peas? More peas?”

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“Caderperar right dere?”

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“Tomayo!” (And a sweet potato volunteer…)

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“Uh oh. It get down.” (The arbor fell in a storm.)

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“Snail! Hold it? Mama hold it?”

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“Carrots ok.” (And more sweet potato volunteers.)

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“Lello flowers.” (On a broccoli that never made broccoli but made plenty of greens and is now over six feet tall. This photo is at my eye level and it’s well over my head.)

Now, onto preparing for a little gardener’s airplane party… (“aye-plane!Noise…See it!”)

Closing the fifth day.

“Hope you don’t feel like I think you’re doing nothing. You’re doing important work.”

Exactly what I needed to hear today.

I find myself with conscious gratitude surfacing more and more as bed rest continues. Is it the slowing down that allows room for it to grow? Is it the perspective shift front and center bringing gratitude into focus more clearly?

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I’m grateful for mother daughter strawberry picnics on blankets with airplanes flying overhead.

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I’m thankful for an over-extended partner extending himself even further to keep us all going, garden included.

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I’m grateful for our small village who wash dishes or do “splash splash” (bath time) or just sit and talk politics and nonsense with me.

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I’m grateful for fresh muffins made while I sleep in and for the financial ability to stomach a pretty decent property tax hike.

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I’m grateful for “smoo” (smooth) and “buhpee” (bumpy) pebbles, and the daughter that carries them to my pillow and blanket fort to tell me about them.

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And I’m grateful that for another day, our little Blueberry is still growing safe and sound in my belly.

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Rain rain…

Here to stay…coming back another day…

With no rain to speak of for a few months it seemed, and then three weeks in a row of serious rain things are a bit…soggy. The mosquitoes aren’t the only happy life forms at the moment though.

The sweet potatoes have blossomed and blossomed again.
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And the bee butts are grateful.
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The fungal mat is showing its true colors…
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Including this interesting specimen who starts out in tiny pillars that open into perfect little raindrop goblets.
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As unhappy as my onions are (I’m pretty sure they’re goners) the lemon basil has a mind to go from occasional herb plant to full on ground cover. I may have to help that little broccoli out before its trying to push through a jungle.
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More rain expected for the next two days, and it started again yesterday. I do hope everyone stays safe this time.

A royal surprise…

I’ve been waiting, less than patiently, for months. Any progress? Any change? ANYTHING?

Then, three days ago, DH calls to me from outside, “Honey, you need to come here!” (I can’t tell from his tone if he’s found something really cool in an on-purpose way, or something really cool in a strangely-unexpected way.) I go outside.

He’s not by the main garden bed. He’s not by the compost or pomegranate or mulberry. He’s back by the grills (yes, two) standing in a large puddle of water.

“Did something burst?” I ask.
“No no, I was just watering. Look over there,” he soothes with a nod to the back corner bed.

Before I’m even there I can see what it’s going to be… Broccoli peek

Singing with color, prancing in illuminated drops of water, the broccoli has made broccoli. Purple broccoli

Even the little runt of the bed is basking in the sunlight. Little broccoli

I hope they’ve survived the freezing rain we had yesterday under their blanket! Tomorrow will warm up enough to uncover them and survey the damage.

A winter’s promise.

The same day we put in the starts, we kept going. I couldn’t very well leave more than half of a newly turned bed empty! Now there are a lot of options out there for labeling your plants, marking your rows, and otherwise organizing what-went-where in such a manner that you can recall what’s what when it comes time to evaluate who is a Re-do and who is a Poo-poo for next year. My favorite methods are generally simple, geometric, alphabetical, cheap, and biodegradable. If you didn’t guess already – I use sticks.

Why, what do you use?

Stick borders
Sticks marking out different planting areas for different seeds to be sown.

A lot of my gardening enjoyment comes from this very stage of the process. Sprout identification is fun for me. As soon as the first sprig of green appears, I’m guessing what it is and holding tight to the knowledge in my memory banks from past sowings. Part of it is pure nerdy pleasure, and part of it is not wanting to pull a “weed” that would actually be a beautiful, productive, or otherwise enjoyable volunteer. That, and surprises and mysteries are fun!

Lettuce mob
A mob of lettuce sprouts. I sowed maybe…five? varieties of lettuce this year. Some Cimmaron, some Little Gem, some others I’ll remember when they grow bigger…

Peas
There’s no mistaking a pea sprout for much of anything else. I’m holding hope they won’t die in a frost (or be nibbled) before finding the daylight required for a full-on growth spurt, but I’m also mentally prepared to resow during the “proper” time window awhile into the calendar yet.

Carrots
This year I’m attempting to follow conventional wisdom in more ways that rows. “Over-sow and thin” has always felt odd to me. A loss of preciously saved seed. A death of little plants that could grow into food. A waste.
After as many feast or famine years as I’ve had with carrots and lettuce, I’m giving it a go this spring. We’ll see how I feel when it comes time to actually thin them though…

Yarrow
The yarrow is alive! This is my third attempt to time sowing (and remember to water properly) to get these stinkers to sprout. Yarrow is supposed to be a wonderful attraction for beneficial insects, and I’ve sown a decent patch of two varieties smack dab in the middle of the bed.

Beets
I’ve honestly lost track of how old these beets are. I think they were softball-sized last spring? We’re harvesting the greens at this point, the beets having loooong ago gone woody. I’m curious when they’ll finally go to seed…

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In the meantime, I have more (purchased) beet seeds making elegantly hued sprouts a few steps away.

Broccoli
And I think more broccoli…or it could be cauliflower. My brain has lost track of that memory and I don’t yet have the knowledge bank to differentiate between the two sprouts…if there even is a way.

What seeds are you sowing (or going to sow) for your first spring garden bites?