The garden has been of utmost interest for us this year. Elv and I decided last fall to try again. Our garden has been a lot of discouraging work. But lo, we realized that we are both want to see if we can actually rejoin the ranks of those who raise vegetables for winter use and fresh eating. We added lots of mulched leaves and lime and put it to bed for winter with hope in our hearts.
This spring we rotor-tilled, early, over and over to work that rotting mulch in. And I geared up to plant as early as possible. The girls and I had ordered seeds and planted them in starter kits and we dreamed and schemed with each other about each our respective gardens plots and plans.
I planted the garden in May spending a lot of time just walking about in it looking for what’s coming back. We have had these peony bushes for over 30 years. I’ve moved them from here to there trying to get them to bloom. It’s been meager at best. This year? They might just bloom, finally. Pink and fragrant. This week!
Last year I planted a few herbs in the garden just for anyhow: oregano, cilantro, and mint. But this spring the only thing that seemed to be back was the mint and something I couldn’t identify. But I am the proud possessor of a google pixel phone with which one can get help to identify plants and things. I love it. This past week I learned that the little town of Minong is home to black locust trees that are currently gloriously abloom. I actually turned my car around and got out to grab a picture to find out what it was.
I figured out that the oregano and the cilantro, in fact, did make it through the winter, by using my phone. Ah, we live in amazing times, don’t we?
One of the last times we tried growing corn in our silly little garden a bear sow and her cubs were too interested until they realized that corn plants do not presuppose ears of corn at harvest time in this particular garden. With those two strikes against me I gave up trying to grow it. And we harvested from local you-pick patches for our freezer. But this year while I was buying other seeds for our gardening adventures, I thought, “Why not?” and brought home three rows worth. In the last couple weeks though I remember why corn is maybe not for us here. Germination was wonderfully 100 percent, but in a couple of weeks the little plants stayed a bland yellow-y green color. I have distinct memories of dark-green, heavy leaves on the corn on the farm back hom. Of course, I called my dad. And looked it up on my phone. Nitrogen deficiency. We are going to mend this. We shall see.
We also put up a sixteen foot cattle panel on which to grow cucumbers. We want lots. So these yellow flowers mean that perhaps my visuals of glistening rows of jars of baby dills will come true.
A rambler rose from Gladys is just starting to bloom. The buds are a little odd and stunted but this will improve because I putter about in my garden a little every day with a spray bottle in my hand to do battle on rust and bugs that have been killing our pleasure. This year I shall fight back diligently. With good mulch, amendments of rabbit manure and potions in spray bottles. Even gardening has its negative realities. This doesn’t discourage me this year.
And here’s another perennial with a past. Our church gave us a beautiful pink hydrangea when Mom Graber passed away. I had the presence of mind to move it to the garden last spring just to see what would become of it. It wintered just fine and I’m pretty excited about seeing it bloom again this summer.
So I’m loving this gardening life. The work of it is play. The results of effort are almost immediate. I can kill the pests with spray. Weeds are minimal because of all the tilling in of the rabbit manure and leaf mulch and the side dressing of nitrogen methods. I feel all homestead-y: busy, committed, and hopeful on the one hand. On the other, I must be patient.
And one more thing. Plants with a story. Beulah beans are a large white soup bean, the seed of which can only be gotten from the old aunties of our Hershey people. I suppose Aunt Beulah knows where she got them in the first place, but I can’t find this out from my phone and will have to wait until I see her again in heaven some day to ask her. I haven’t had any seed or soup of these beans for years, so this spring when gardening came alive in my head again, I thought of them and wished to plant and restore the old tradition of canning them for baked beans and more seed for next year.
Marlene Graber had some seed and kindly sent me a few. I think every seed came up. When the crop comes in; we will make sure of our seed for the girls and me; then we will can the rest up for eating.