By LYNNE IRONS
It is an uphill climb from every direction to my hometown of Rew. It is one of the highest points in the state of Pennsylvania.
It was a typical rural village in the northern Appalachian mountain range. We had an elementary school, gas station, mom-and-pop grocery store, beer joint, and a fire hall that hosted square dancing every Saturday night. Now that the mall and Wal-Mart killed the place, all that is left is a little church which cannot support its own minister.
You may wonder why I include these autobiographical sketches that have nothing to do with gardening? You are not alone — pity my poor editor.
My greenhouse is bursting at the seams. Seriously, I moved a couple of dozen large plug trays of peas (shell, snap, snow and sweet) out into the cold frames to harden off. I start peas indoors to confound the crows. They love pulling up the newly sprouted peas.
My son built my cold frames some years ago. They are a great design. The end walls are triangular plywood, connected with two-by-fours. The north side is permanent plastic, while the south has a piece of strapping holding the plastic down. In the mornings I flop the south side over and close it at night. It takes less than a minute to tend. The frames are so lightweight that they can be moved around with the help of a small child.
They can be rotated around the vegetable garden getting a jump on the season. I use them for early lettuce, beets, carrots, etc., then right over to the cucumbers, squashes and tomatoes. Worth the minimal investment.
It is time to sharpen the pruning saw and get to the blueberries and fruit trees. If you are unsure, just go ahead and get rid of all the dead wood this year. There is always plenty of it, not to mention the about-to-die, i.e., split or damaged branches.
Last week, my workers and I thatched a large lawn with very stiff bamboo rakes. It is such a satisfying task. However, my arms are just beginning to work again. All of these spring chores take a bodily toll, especially for those of us of a certain age. It is advisable to locate a good chiropractor.
I ordered some strawberry plants this year. I had been moving the old ones around for years and finally decided to start fresh. When my oldest son, Jeremiah, was a toddler, we were picking and eating right in the patch one day. He picked several unripe fruits. I explained how they needed to be red before they could be eaten. A few days later, I found a half-ripe berry still attached to the plant with a child-sized bite missing.
The Vineyard Haven Baptist Church has a small farmer’s market in the summer. It begins this year on June 21. They are looking for vendors. I will keep you updated.
What’s up with the ugly orange plastic fencing around the various job sites? To wit: across from the Vineyard Haven post office. Lady Bird Johnson would turn over in her grave. So much for highway beautification.
Take a last longing look at Lake Tashmoo. The willows at the water’s edge will be leafing out soon and will be obliterating the view. Don’t get me wrong, I love weeping willows — elsewhere.