Spring Garden Report

Each day I walk the path that goes around our acre property.
Now with spring I observe changes every day.

I start out back and walk up a small hill to the path above the mushroom growhouse. I pass my little lavender bush and hold a leaf rubbing it to get the calming scent. I proceed passing an oak tree in pink and light pastel green just beginning to push forward to make leaves. Finally winter’s dried brown leaves disappeared.

Down the path I go by our dear Manx cat’s grave from 2 years ago. I imagine him sleeping in peace. Continuing on, honeysuckle turns dark green and wild rose leaves are poking out. I look forward to the smell of honeysuckle and roses when they bloom. The forsythia bush’s yellow bells are almost gone turning the whole bush an egg yellow green.

On further I pass my friend Mountain Laurel who I just transplanted from a place where a right of way may come through and destroy her. She prospers in her new home, maybe even better because now she can stand up.
spring 2013 022
Coming out of the pines I head down to the lower garden passing the red buds. The strawberries bloom with white blossoms. I imagine crimson succulent berries ripe and ready to chomp down on. Today I put beer in cups to trap the slugs. In the next potato row, pieces sit in dirt covered with mushroom compost straw. Next to the two rows of potatoes are echinanea plants from last year. They’ve not pushed up their green oval leaves yet. I keep looking.

As I walk up to the upper garden I spy my 2 rhubard plants. I remember seeing them early spring as a tiny green/ pink bulbs pushing up. Eating rhubard brings me comfort because it reminds me of childhood gardens. Last year one of my rhubard plants died due to being choked out by echinacea. I was in mourning to a friend who had rhubard crowding her garden. She gave me three plants. Two survived. I can taste the sweet/sour flavor on my tongue already. Next I view a small clump of kale that is the sole survivor of a row of seeds planted in late summer. I’ve been eating tender strong flavored greens already.

In the fenced in area, chard grows from my fall planting soon ready to eat. Its firm thick forest green leaves get taller and taller. A couple red Romaine lettuce heads made it through the winter. I covered them with a plastic tent for most of the winter but got slack once at the end and lost other heads. We did eat lettuce in winter salads. I am learning.

Tall curly stems meet me in the next section as the garlic grows bigger and bigger in the ground. Hardneck garlic takes the prize with us. We used to buy garlic to plant but now we save cloves from year to year. We use a lot of garlic and sadly have to buy it when our garden supply runs out. My husband plants bulbs in the fall, then harvests and dries them in July. I smell the pungent garlic preparing for a meal such as humus or spaghetti.

As I continue my walk around the property I come to our tiny greenhouse where we now grow tomato and pepper seedlings for the garden. Walking into the greenhouse on a sunny day I soak up the rays and it warms my bones. Tending to the tiny plants, I see them grow from struggling thin little strings to thicker full plants. We also have lettuce and chard in egg cartons which are ¼” now. We hope to get a head start by beginning them inside.

tomato seedlings

tomato seedlings

pepper seedlings

pepper seedlings

tomato plants

tomato plants

Around the corner is our year old fig tree that came from Philadelphia and my husband’s family fig trees. Never had I tasted a fresh fig until he grew them. I’d only eaten dried ones. The soft sweet sack is hard to believe it’s the same fruit.

Further around the corner passing the dogwood in full bloom I come to my blueberry bushes. For three years I cared for these plants and it looks like they will bear this year. What a wait! Today I fertilized them with bone meal after weeding earlier in the week. I long for the sweet sometimes tangy taste of my own blueberries. They are shaded somewhat so I worry about sun but I’ve heard other people grown them with some shade. Time will tell.

In front of the blueberries sits a small peach tree. Once a big peach tree grew here but it produced too much fruit one year and a major limb broke off. We had to cut it down. But a pit dropped and grew into a tree so we have baby peach tree now. To taste a sweet juicy peach is a dream. I knew good quality peaches well because my Dad was an apple and peach specialist for Virginia growers. Eating the best peaches was a perk. We’d eat them on cereal and ice cream and freeze them for later. To get frozen peaches from the ice box in winter is a memory of warm sunny days.

Compost bins are further down in the yard close to the upper garden where we dump our table scraps on mushroom straw and cover with more mushrooms straw. After awhile the mixture becomes very dark and full of nitrogen. We add this to the soil when we transplant the tomato/ pepper plants and other plants and seeds creating a bed. Also, we use cow manure and fish emulsion for fertilizer.

So as I walk around the path getting my exercise I look at Mother Nature’s growing. This time of year charges me up. The red buds and dogwood grace the yard with beauty. One bush whose name I don’t know along the path near the woods smells like sweet lilac. All these treats rejuvenate me every spring.


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