Rebellion dogs my every step. I’m a shameless rule breaker. This behavior goes way back to childhood.
I, once again, ignored all garden wisdom and applied fresh horse manure to the garden beds this past weekend. I could not help myself. It was delivered on Saturday straight from a barn spring cleaning. In my perfect world it would sit and age properly for months. Take my advice — I’m not using it.
After a lovely productive weekend, color me surprised to have snow on Monday morning. This winter is going all out. Hopefully, we will reap the benefits this summer, with less bugs and a nice full water table.
I managed to kill several flats of onion seedlings. I put them outdoors into an unheated hoop house too early. I can’t decide if I froze them or cooked them. When they were in my attached greenhouse, they froze at night but not as deeply. I tended and watered them more frequently every day than in my hoop house, which is located elsewhere. It gets very hot midday. Oh well, good thing I have more. More is always better — the theme of my life! Gardening is but a life metaphor.
I ordered some cotton seed. I’ve never grown them. It is an experiment. It all started with an interesting discussion with Liz Toomey of Knitworks. I had already ordered seeds for several types of dying herbs from Pinetree Garden Seeds out of New Gloucester, Me. Hopefully Liz will walk me through creating the dye from the various plants. It seemed like a logical next step to order cotton, if for nothing else to allow Violet to do some science experiments with her friends.
Some of these plants I have grown in the past for other reasons. For example, black hollyhock was grown by our third president at Monticello. It yields a lavender to mauve shade from its extremely dark purple flowers.
Indigo is a tender perennial grown as an annual in our climate. It’s white pea-like blooms signal the time to pick the leaves for a beautiful blue.
Golden Marguerite is a hardy perennial, (also lovely as a cut flower) which produces a fine yellow to orange.
Woad, a biennial, also gives up a blue dye from its leaves. The Chinese sometimes use it as an antibiotic.
Henna, with which we are all familiar, can double as a good houseplant.
Finally, there is the Hopi red dye amaranth with its brilliant maroon leaves. Amaranth is one of my favorite plants. It is edible in the young leaf stage, produces a seed head for highly nutritious grain and is a spectacular cut flower.
Thanks to son Reuben, I got the winter debris off the just barely emerging bulbs. I was saddened to see blooming crocuses peeking through dead leaves, sticks and spent perennial remains. It’s tricky if one lets it go so long. Often flower tops get removed with the rake. Every fall I vow to do it differently but have yet to keep that vow for decades.
I am still trying to wrap my head around Rep. Paul Ryan’s recent comments. His reasoning for disapproval of the school lunch program is so far out in right field that it boggles the mind.
He says children who do not bring a brown paper bagged lunch from home don’t know someone cares for them. Really?
This is a man who, sadly, was raised without his father, who died when Paul was young. He, fortunately, received Social Security death benefits which enabled his mother to care for him. News flash, congressman — that is a government program! Mr. Ryan is typical of present-day members of the GOP. Nobody wants anybody getting any government handouts except themselves. Look up how many politicians’ families receive farm subsides while they wantonly cut food stamps for poor and disabled people.
Honestly, there are times when I’m ready to throw out the televisions and radio and cancel my newspaper subscription. The news is simply too sad and stupid.
On a lighter note . . . spring is moments away. Let’s get out there and grow some food.