Live and rarely ever learn. I complained all week about the wind but went ahead anyway and planted out some teensy seedlings. They had been coming along nicely in a warm cozy greenhouse and, true to my nature, I could not wait to put them into the ground. Needless to say they were pretty much beaten to death. We’re talking about romaine lettuce, broccoli rabe, Russian kale and miniscule seedlings. Good thing I over-planted inside so replacement will not be a problem. Luckily, I’ve learned to shake my head at my own self.
Speaking of beat-up, my poor crocuses took a hit from the chilly wind this week. Honestly, it’s always something. Last year, a sudden heat wave fried them before they could even reach their full potential.
At least the hyacinths are beginning to bloom and take the place of crocuses in the overall color scheme.
I noticed a small star magnolia in full bloom at the Tisbury school. Oddly, right down the street my own is just beginning to bud. There is much to say about protected location. The south side of a stone wall is a great place for early bulbs. On the north side the same plants would take weeks longer, thus extending your season of enjoyment.
I had some pansies in bloom at a job site which I had planted just before Columbus Day for an event on the property. I bet if I cut them back soon I can keep them going all spring.
If you get a chance to compost around your perennials it will cover all the dips and humps caused by the frost heaves this past winter. So many big clumps of plants are practically out of the ground.
Laurissa Rick called with some information about rain barrels. She encouraged me to take a drive-by of the Garden Club at the Old Mill House to see one set up on the back deck. They are on display on the front porch of SBS. SBS is not selling them, so check out the brochure next to the barrel. Questions can be directed to email@example.com.
I received two books this week. One, a gift from my friend Alyson Axelrod entitled The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, is a novel centered around the hidden meanings of flowers. This was a Victorian-era style of conveying romantic expressions. I confess I haven’t read a novel in quite some time and was immediately hooked by this one. I usually read non-fiction, news, political commentary and plant books, so this is a welcome change but still on my favorite subject.
Abigail Higgins ordered The Intelligent Gardener for a number of us at the Homegrown group. I am looking forward to losing myself in it soon. I have to quote a section of the opening from Victor Tiedjens’ Vegetable Crop Production, circa 1942.
“Kitchen gardens come and go with the prosperity of the times. During times of emergency, when vegetables are scarce, they become a necessity, and everyone who has access to a small piece of land should feel under obligation to plant a garden. The farm garden is particularly important, because it is possible to produce so much food, for so little effort and with no additional fertilizer. During times of low prices, when farmers’ cash is scarce, the properly planned farm garden can supply 75 percent of the food energy he would ordinarily buy. This, with what he gets from animals and poultry, should carry him through any emergency.”
“Subsistence farming is a system of poultry and animal products, including sheep and wool for clothing, that the family can grow everything it needs on the land, without selling anything. This owner then depends on day labor for sufficient cash income to satisfy his extra needs. It is a system whereby a family can make a living instead of going on relief when wages are low and work is scarce. It helps a person maintain his self respect even though he may be out of work.”
This was written at the beginning of World War II when Victory Gardens were the rage. I loved the comparing of growing one’s own food to self-respect. There certainly is satisfaction and confidence involved when a family sits down to a home-raised meal.
Speaking of satisfaction, I grew the best spinach ever this past winter/spring. It actually is big-leafed and hasn’t immediately gone to seed at two inches tall. I planted it in the beginning of November and grew it in the unheated hoop house under a single layer of plastic. It’s taken only some 40 years to get this right!
What a world we have . . .
Margaret Thatcher is dead . . . Kim Jong-un is scary and crazy and some of our politicians are more afraid of gay marriage than assault weapons.