Thursday, March 29, 2018

Spring Garden (de-) Planning

Well, spring is finally here.  Or it seems like it should be.  Because, even though, yes, it was snowing on Monday, it didn't stick, and it's warmed up to like 50 (ok 46) and the sun is...sort of out, so I'm calling that a win.

Yesterday I actually went out and spread some more black plastic on the last bit of empty dirt at the back side of the vegetable garden, and I'm ready to drag out our grow lights and plant vegetable seeds indoors next week.  That is...just as soon as we drag out the ten thousand carefully puzzle-stacked boxes of Christmas decorations in the hall closet to get under the house where the grow lights are stored.  Which will mean, I'll get in the middle of THAT and find something wrong with the tub of all the winter gloves and hats, and I'll go off all organizing THOSE, and then the coats will need to be rotated (winter in the back, light jackets to the front), and then I'll probably find that my scarves are in need of updating, and then--


Garden vegetable seeds will be happening next week.

The only thing about this year that will be a major change for us is that, if you read my empty nest posts awhile back...there's just two of us here now.  And our garden is, after just a hair over a decade of waiting for the fence around it to be enclosure of 5,000 square feet.  50' X 100' of enclosed potting soil.  It's like my own summer play area.  When there were four of us to feed, that space was great, and I've had years where I filled the whole thing to capacity with everysinglevariety of vegetables you can grow here (and some you can't).  I've filled it with things we eat (corn, carrots, beans) and things we don't (radishes/kale/okra/brussels sprouts).  I've wasted space on 46 tomato plants that I know will never fruit until Thanksgiving week, under my redneck-greenhouse covering of clear painter's plastic held down with pavers, no matter how early I plant them inside.

spring--covered with plastic and straw

Umm, yeah, lots of room here...

Now, suddenly, there's all this space, and there's just two of us.  I don't know how to un-plan my garden.  De-plan? Downsize?  I don't know what to do with less than half of a 25' row of carrots, 46 tomato plants, and 250 square feet of corn.  Two 25' x 4' rows of green beans.  12 mounds of potatoes.  A 20 x 24' area of pumpkins.   aieeeee

Most people's vegetable garden space would fit in the front corner where I grow medicinal herbs.

Kale seeding overdose.  Because yeah, no one eats kale.  Just saying-


Well...I have thought about adding more berries.  But God forbid, NOT more currants...those things are one of those plants where ONE is probably too many.  I mean, seriously, what do you DO with currants?  Sure, I make jelly (not jam, because they are basically composed of solid seeds), so now we have two bushes that fruit like crazy, and I have to sit there for hours picking them and THEN bring the racemes in and pick off the individual berries until I wish I'd never heard of currants, so more currants.
Sam, helping with the currant situation.  

More blueberries would be nice.  Maybe I'll do that---add a bunch more blueberry bushes.  And lavender.  Or a cutting flower area, with just annual flowers for picking.  Hahahaaaa yeah right-- even with 85 or so roses here, I basically never cut flowers for inside.  Go figure...  So what would I do with a patch of cosmos and dahlias?  It'd be pretty though, even if I only see it from the window.

Or..since last year we added beekeeping to our list of Things We Do Now, But Not Entirely Together, I could add a bee-garden in part of it.  Not that they aren't already on flower-visiting overdrive with all the flowers and fruit we have blooming here all season.  But still, a bee corner would be cool.  Except no stinging.  I am anti-sting.  Like, Shane will go out and do the hive maintenance stuff, and I stay inside behind the windows and I still get little adrenaline rush chills thinking about 80 million bees (or however many in 5 hives) swarming all up in your stuff like "what's UP"...*shudder*

Actually our honeybees are pretty "mellow" (which is "bee speak" for  "they don't swarm out and kill you when you approach"), but still.  I just don't like stings.  Not even one from a cranky guard bee who forgets herself and is all "whoops sorry, had to do that".

So, I guess...stay tuned and see how we make use of our now-overly-large garden space, and I'll try not to can 115 pints of corn/beans/carrots/beets/tomatoes etc this fall, like I've done every year since like 1996.

I'd love to hear what you do with any excess garden space-- more fruit?  cutting gardens? Bee sanctuary?  And no...I'm not into selling at farmer's markets.  I'm too lazy to get up at 4 a.m. to pick, clean, and bundle, then drive to town, set up a booth, nicely display everything, then haggle with the uber-cool out-of-towners (I'm looking at you, Californians), who want to know if that's my "best price" for organic corn.  No thanks.  Actually, I don't get up at 4 a.m. for ANY reason...


  1. Under normal conditions, you would never catch me reading anything about gardening. I'd see the title and run. But this isn't 'normal conditions' this is, It's A Long Story where the most mundane subject can get life injected into it. So I read it and I was not disappointed (as I knew I wouldn't be or I wouldn't have risked it :-) Only you could make an article on gardening compelling reading. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a beautiful garden. I just don't have one as I don't have the gardening gene. My sister has - but it passed me straight over. And I LOVE that you grow your own food. That's so much healthier than buying 'organic' fruit and veg in the supermarket because - who knows WHAT is in and on that stuff. Why don't you plant sprouts etc? Do you avoid anything from the Brassica family? I only ask because I just figured out I'm probably killing my thyroid with green juices from the Brassica family and am now avoiding them while I see if it makes a difference. And the medicinal herb garden - now there's some gardening I could be persuaded to do - I LOVE herbal medicine and use it routinely instead of the poison big pharma is killing us with. I've really enjoyed reading about your garden de-planning and getting a flavour of what life is like with a massive back yard! As for excess garden space - anything beyond the group of garden swings I have arranged in a three sided square for chilling with friends in summer is excess. Best left to Garry to deal with which simply means he has to mow the lawn and sweep the patio. That's it. Thanks for another lovely slice of US life - you really are a talented writer.x

    1. Aw I love you! Thanks!! I don't feel talented, but I like the idea of getting some of the clutter OUT of my head, lol.

      We do have a giant back yard. We laugh that we created our own park to live in. Just...without the crew of hired help to maintain it. *sigh* It's lovely though, and I do enjoy it. And omg WAIT til you hear what we added last year, and will finish this year... :D

      The veggies-- I would totally eat sprouts, but they are an aphid MAGNET and always end up so crusted with bugs by the time they're ripe that I gag when I walk by. On the bright side, the others we DO like, are always bug free, so I basically use sprouts as aphid traps...and we gets tons of cabbage (for creamed cabbage and sauerkraut) and tons of broccoli and cauliflower fresh and for soups. I never thought of it messing with thyroid, and I've had mild thyroid issues forever...hmm....

      and..HERBAL MEDICINE IS WHERE IT'S AT, GIRL. I have a whole "apothecary cabinet" going on in my laundry room, full of jars of dried herbs. I feel like one of those crones from the movies,digging through bottles of unknown dried things, haha. Actually, that would be a good post topic for later, because 'wise women' deserve a nod, even in our ultra-big-pharm culture. :D

      Talk soon! xo

  2. Stef!!! I love your blog and have missed reading it. You crack me up because you write just like you talk. I can totally hear your voice in my head while I read this.
    Miss you, it's been way too long.

    1. Hey Kelly! So nice to hear from you, and yeah, I pretty much write it like I'd tell it, haha...

      Let's get together sooooooon

  3. Yes please!!! I'd love to get together. Do you still have my # it's the same old one I've had forever. Lots to talk about, so lets plan a long afternoon of it.
    Miss you my friend,


    1. I think I do- mine's the same too. Talk soon :)