It’s happened again. I’ve seeded too many flats, taken on too much work and ordered too many potatoes. I’m not telling how many of you will stop reading this as the writer has lost touch with reality. I’ve said it before — if I had a couple of clones I would be fine. How is it possible to be so far behind so soon? The good news is . . . I do enjoy my life.
Thank goodness my preferred method of potato planting is so simple. I toss them on the unprepared ground and put hay on top. Next rainy day I will throw some pro-gro on the hay. That’s the end of it until it’s time to handpick the Colorado potato beetle.
On the job sites my son and worker Reuben has been busy repairing damage left by the rainstorm of two weeks ago. I understand we made the national news. I am no stranger to news-making weather events. Bradford, Pa., wins coldest spot in the lower 48 on a regular basis. I rang my brother, Doug, this week to inquire about a rain incident that occurred in 1942. It seems Smithport, Pa., received 30.8 inches in four and a half hours. Now that is biblical proportion precipitation. Smithport is located down the other side of Rew Hill from Bradford. Terrible flooding resulted. This area is located at the headwaters of the Allegheny River. Ordinarily it is barely a trickle.
I digress. Back to gardening on the Vineyard in 2011. I am fond of dandelions. I was happy to read my colleague Abigail Higgins’s remarks about various uses of the weed. I never pull them from my own lawn. They are so cheerful and sunny. Most are there as a result of children and grandchildren blowing them about for years.
I’ve been picking a tremendous quantity of lettuce. It is huge in my greenhouse. Planted in fish totes and large pots in mid-February, it is tender and prolific. My outside plantings are coming along but still tiny. I have been eating radishes. They are hardly larger than lentils but the tops are still tender and edible.
I planted carrots more than a month ago and figured I killed their potential for life. It was so early and froze hard many nights. Wouldn’t you know they came up the day I picked the end of last year’s crop? I love that.
I ordered a ton of gladiolus bulbs. I do not believe I have planted them for decades. They tend to be funeralesque. However, last summer I noticed a large stand of them in a perennial bed at the entrance to Ernie Boch’s. They were right before the two big cement Chinese guys. They, (the glads), made a huge statement. Hopefully I can incorporate them into some gardens in a pleasing fashion. I don’t want them to look like little soldiers.
I ordered plug trays for the business. They are the annuals I use in borders and window boxes. They all get transferred into four-inch pots and need to be protected at night in cold frames. For some reason I am not as brave as some of the garden centers with my annuals. I’ve noticed geraniums out at a few locations. I’ve had too many years of bad experiences. It is memorable the things I’ve let freeze. One year it was all zinnias, another my peppers. I always rush the season with the cold crops but am later than most with the heat lovers.
Sadly this past week one of my favorite singers died. Hazel Dickens, one of the first women in the bluegrass community, was paired with Alice Gerrard during the 1960s and 1970s. She was the musical voice in the 1976 Oscar-winning documentary Harlan County, USA. She was best known for her soulful laments for the coal miners of Appalachia.
Last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine had a great article about the mother of our President. She raised him to be infinitely patient, a quality that can be maddening to us bleeding-heart liberals. I was interested in the racial bigotry he faced as a young boy in Indonesia. The article was all the more interesting in light of the new faux presidential candidate, the Donald. Honestly, some folks think that he’s undercover working for the Obama campaign. It sure makes the birthers more absurd. I bet if Hawaii charged for every time they had to produce Obama’s birth certificate they could balance their state budget.