Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gardeners Rant

 Every gardener has that day when he wonders if it “is all worth it?”. Perhaps it’s the aching muscles following a day of preparing the soil,turning compost and spreading manure that initiates this thought. Or a conversation with a friend who in an off hand comment stated that the time you spent in the garden could be better spent making some money at a part time job, somewhere.
Then there’s always the pragmatist, like one of my sisters, who wants nothing to do with the outdoors or gardening except when it comes time to  swing a golf club,  who adds up all the hours of labor involved in seeding, planting, cultivating, nurturing and finally harvesting a crop, converts those hours into dollars and then tells you how much cheaper it is to simply buy at the market. Perhaps it’s the late frost that caught you unaware or the dang beetles that ate your prize lilies that makes you throw up your hands to the heavens and wonder “is this all worth it?”.

 It happened to me just a couple of weeks ago. While staring out upon the garden, the raised beds merely shapes under a foot  of snow, I was taken by a wave of melancholy so sudden, I couldn’t imagine where it was coming from. Before long I was wondering if the path I chose was worth it? What caused me to feel like this? Did I regret losing time for creating? Absolutely Not. Was I keeping a garden to save money on groceries? Possibly, with todays rising prices, but No. I don’t think so. Was I discouraged over losing a crop? No. If I didn’t have failures,well  sure, how else would I learn?

You’re getting older, I told myself. You’re not as strong as you used to be. The muscles ache more and more every year. It’s only going to get worse in years to come. I couldn’t even fathom managing the herb farm I had for the previous 22 years. And yet I miss the greenhouse and that wonderful humusy smell of rich earth every time I enter, and to watch that miracle of growth of a seedling bed or simply to brush up against the lemon verbena  leaves that would so readily perfume the greenhouse with a mere touch.
And then I thought about my Dad’s garden. He talked about reducing the size of his garden for years, but it didn’t happen. He’d say that he “won’t keep much of a garden this year”, but I knew it would be just as large and bigger than ever. He’d curse the spring mud ’cause he couldn’t plant yet, and he’d brush the snow off the escarole before he cut it just as he did for decades.
Then I realized that I, like my father, would never weary of keeping a garden. It simply isn’t in my bones or nature.  I’ve told my dear hubby for years now, that  the day I stop gardening, he may as well plant me.
There’s that bonding of the human spirit with the spirit of the earth that takes place when keeping a garden that no amount of bodily discomfort can diminish. Though I hate to admit it, it is, in fact, the labor itself that satisfies. The kind of labor that at the end of the day you can look upon, and see what you accomplished and feel like a good mother to the earth.
Is it all worth it? You bet. In fact, for me, it’s essential. I couldn’t imagine a windowsill without a tray of spring seedlings popping up in my house. This whole while, it was just miserable February making me feel funky. I’m really not too fond of late February, unless I’m off basking in the islands somewhere. Oh, don’t get me wrong, you’ll no doubt hear me bellyaching this season over weather conditions, critter attacks, aching muscles.. but by far you’ll hear and see the benefits I will reap from my garden..and for me, this outweighs any pitfalls that may come along my path.  Now where are my mudmocks? Happy Spring gardening!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hot Hot Hot

Though it was -4 degrees this morning, I'm dreaming of heat!  Heat, as in hot pepper heat. This week the hot pepper seeds were planted, as we have many chilly days still ahead of us here in Maine before we see our last frost. I didn't add anything new to the line-up, but know that eventually more will be added when planting time rolls around. As popular as hot peppers have become, remarkably enough, we just see  very few of them in our local nurseries, aside from the common ones. So for now we will have Aji Amarillo,Jalapenos,  Anaheims, Hinklehautz and chili peppers along with our Italian sweets. 

These were grown last summer in our garden:

Aji Amarillo- a Peruvian beauty, with moderate heat,and medium fruits that grew to nearly six foot tall!
Hinklehautz- a great hot pepper, with fairly good heat.. but a fabulously prolific pepper that will withstand some chilly nites.  I was still harvesting into October these little dears..  & so yummy too!This year I will pot up a couple to see how they fare over next winter indoors.
Chili- Just run of the mill hot pepper, but I use many of them
Jalapenos- Who doesn't use jalapenos?  :-)
Anaheims- moderate sized plant and fruit.. great for stuffing!

Can you tell I'm anxious for Spring's arrival yet?!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Onion Seeds

Welcome to the New Year!  So far its been a rather cold and snowy winter so far. Cold would be understating it a wee bit!  Of course, you know what January brings, aside from snow and frigid temperatures?  Seed catalogs!!  Some dismal weather days, just flipping through the colorful pages can warm you right down to your toes.  

I just ordered my onion seed this week.  Our storeage onions are keeping very well and the supply is still plentiful from 2013.  I'll seed 2014 onion seed around mid-February and can't wait to see some green!

Spring is just around the corner, so start planning your garden!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Herb seeds

  The days are getting a little longer--the sun is getting a little brighter when we see it and my seeds are beginning to arrive!!
Spring is just around the corner, or so I keep telling myself, about 55 more days or sow. ;-) Think warm thoughts, and dream of luscious fresh vegetables fresh from the vine. Til next thyme..

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

This Christmas Day, celebrate the loved ones you still have in your life and allow yourself to believe that you will see all those you loved again one day. Buon Natale! Merry Christmas to all! May 2014 bring you peace in your heart and joy in your days. Happy holidays!