Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It ain't pretty, but it's home

I love spring! Now, if only spring weather loved me. Can you believe there is a wintry mix in the forecast for tomorrow?!? Nevertheless, some early spring can't wait for me to be having a comfy 'jeans and t-shirt weather' day. They need to go in now if we want to enjoy later. So, already planted last fall were 2 varieties of garlic. Nom, nom, nom, not only tasty, but protects us from vampires and people who invade our personal bubble. I also transplanted a few dozen strawberry plants into a new bed. It was time. The asparagus bed is well established. I was so very excited when it started sending up a few tender shoots last week. I even steamed a few. Spring weather being what it is though, we've had some frosts that have halted those messengers of spring for another week or two, so my little asparagus feast was premature.

This spring, I've got more beds to work with thanks to some very hard work on the part of the youth missions team doing a work-study project and to a few intensive weekends of work for Tim and I. Last week I started the early spring planting by putting in a few different types of lettuces and seeding Swiss Chard. This past Saturday, when we had a surprisingly nice day, I hurried to spend a little time planting kale, cauliflour, broccoli, shallots, spinach, onions and spring peas.

We have an inquisitively nosy neighbor who pointed out that we were supposed to get snow that night and all of my plants would probably die. I was also warned that both spinach and kale contain chemicals that inhibit the absorption of calcium. I planted anyway; sure the babies would survive since they'd been hardening off on the front porch through a few frosts anyway and don't worry about kale or spinach. You'd have to eat a bucketload at a time to worry about calcium absorption and cooking them even briefly deactivates the calcium hindering chemical.

I let him boss me around a bit and send him off with fresh eggs (but not before he tells me how I should grow flax to feed to the chickens raising their Omega-3 levels) before he goes on his way. :)
All of the plants don't look so hot right now because until they are a bit larger, we have to protect them from Peter Cottontail and his voraciously hungry family members. It's so disheartening to put in several hours planting a garden, anticipating the harvest, going to sleep feeling you've done a good turn for the earth and your local food system only to wake up and discover your freshly planted garden has been mowed down by killer bunnies. It's ain't pretty, but the coffee cans and old pots work as a barrier.

But, there are signs of a beautiful spring...in new baby chicks...and old stands of sunny daffodils.
Speaking of spring crops, if you garden, this year consider planting extra to donate to your local food bank. In the mid-90s, a group of gardeners founded Plant a Row for the Hungry to do just that. Some news sources say a recovery is well under way, but in my area, local food banks have seen a large increase of families in need of assistance. What better way to help out than with homegrown produce?

1 comment:

Kim said...

Hey, that doesn't look like your back yard. Did you get a fence? I love your raised beds, we're about to work on some of those. And the bunnies ate everything we planted last year, so I guess we'll be using lots of fencing and netting this year. I'm ready for spring, too!