Tag Archives: gardening

Peas Conspiracy

Soup King is not fond of peas. I think he has conspired with Mother Nature. I went to water my seed flats in the greenhouse. One was upside down on the ground AGAIN! I may be able to salvage some of the plants, but it looks like no peas this year. I find it suspicious that the side of the greenhouse is able to flap about enough to flip an entire flat of 72 seedlings onto the ground.

Perhaps the chickens are in cahoots with Soup King and Mother Nature. It seems they stole two of my strawberry plants and devoured those. Silly chickens. You ate the WRONG part. The berries taste much better.

Too bad Miss Drama didn’t conspire with the universe. She LIKES peas. Then again, she also likes eating dirt….and dog food.

“Dog food?” you ask.

I was cleaning the living room and found a grocery sack filled with dog kibble. “What on earth?”

“Miss Drama was probably eating it,” Soup King says.

“What?”

“You do know that she eats dog food, right?”

“No. No I didn’t.”

I can see why Soup King doubts peas. Little girls that eat dog kibble love peas. Clearly they should be avoided. I usually like peas. I wonder what that says about me?

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Green is in

As soon as Spring rolls in, I head outside. Never mind that I’m allergic to all of creation, that’s what the pharmacy in my cabinet is for.

I confess, I have a bit of a plant addiction. Is there a plant buyers anonymous?

When I moved into my house, it had two garden beds. Nothing was in the rocky pathetic shade spot, and the only thing in the sun bed were some scraggly daffodils, a huge boxwood bush and an azalia which had been planted far too close to the boxwood. Every spring, it looks like one tiny corner of the boxwood blooms orange-pink. I didn’t prune the boxwood last fall. I think I hear the azalia crying, “Help me! Help me!”

That first year I planted all annuals, dianthus and vincas, petunias, etc. The dianthus, as luck would have it, were hardy and lived for three more years until fire ants decided their roots made for an awesome home.  Since that first spring I’ve slowly added in perennials and bulbs.  Now, that bed is full. Much of it dies back in winter, but not all, and aside from the business of feeding, mulching, and pruning, it returns every year. The same applies for the shade bed, once I found some native shade lilies and hostas that grow well in that spot.

A few years later I turned the entire length of the side yard into a shade bed, as nothing grew. The dirt was horrid. It’s taken several years to amend and for the plants to fill in nicely. I’m now hacking at ivy. “Back! Back I say!”

I’ve added a bed around the mailbox, one along the front walk, one in front of the rocky bed, and this year I added a large semi-shade bed.

If THOSE plants go on walkabout, forget zombies, it's a plant take-over!

Then there’s the vegetable garden I started four years ago:

peas vegcorn

That’s only the parts I’m done weeding and planting.

I’ve amended the soil a bunch, there’s chicken wire to keep the chickens from eating the garden as they did last year, and I’m mulching heavily.

Maybe this year I might get food, eh?

When it hits 100 degrees outside, I’ll return to a more active writing schedule, but for now, I plan to play in the dirt.

Tumble Tomatoes?

I’ve heard of tumbleweed, but tumble tomatoes? Yes, I agree, it makes no sense.

Let me explain.

I put out a flat of tomato plants, along with some peppers and other vegetable and melon seedlings, so that they could harden. They went outside about a week ago when the weather finally decided Spring could stay. A few days ago, when heavy rains were forecasted I went out to move them to a more sheltered location.

No flat.

Gone.

“What?!”

I asked Soup King, but he didn’t know where they were. I thought maybe I put them in the backyard, but later in the week I looked and they were no where to be found. On Sunday, while picking up in the front yard, I finally found them in the neighbor’s overgrown flower bed. I suspected a certain Miss Drama.

I moved the flat to the corner of my front yard so it could get lots of sunshine. I arrived home yesterday, glanced at where the plants should be, and you guessed it.

Gone. Again!

I asked Miss Drama, “Do you know where my flat of plants went? Did you move it?”

“What plants?”

Sigh.

I went on a plant hunt and this time the flat was in my brand new shade flower bed.  I think this is a sign that I need to plant those suckers in the ground before they start taking road trips. I also need to show Miss Drama, “THOSE plants!”

If THOSE plants go on walkabout, forget zombies, it's a plant take-over!

If THOSE plants go on walkabout, forget zombies, it’s a plant take-over!

 

 

What’s the hurry?

Winter ran through, barely even gracing us with a whisper of cold. It seems Spring is following suite. She made an early appearance, what with winter wandering off to another hemisphere rather earlier than is polite. The cool days with a touch of warmth from a golden sun lasted just long enough to get our hopes up. It isn’t even the first official day of spring and already temperatures are climbing into the 80s.  I’m forced to ask the seasons, “What’s the hurry?”

For the last 14 years that I’ve experienced spring in Memphis, I always bought an optimistically short-sleeve dress for Easter and then ended up freezing if I didn’t have a sweater with it. Furthermore I haven’t felt the urge to wear shorts earlier than the last week of April, and yet I wore them yesterday while gardening. I didn’t even get cold after the sun set!

I can only conclude that Winter and Spring are terrified of Summer and are running for their lives.

Should we worry? I’m generally fond of Summer, but what if she’s out to get all of us? I can only hope she takes mercy on my poor little seedlings. Is she feeling vindictive? Did I insult her with my wishes for snow?

Last year a thunderstorm flattened half my corn. The heat and ants got the rest. I’m debating if I should even attempt corn now.

This morning on the radio some disc jockey claimed “they” were predicting a mild summer. Even the dj’s seemed amused by this prediction. I wonder who “they” are and what planet they are on.

If you happen to see Spring, tell her she can come stay at my house for awhile if she wants.

 

You want to do what?!

Spring is nearly here and with that comes the wonderful urge to shop! I know. I can almost hear your thoughts. Jeeze, she’s going to talk about fashion. For those few souls who actually adore fashion, I’m so sorry to disappoint you, but that isn’t what I’m talking about. Okay, so what IS talking about?

Dirt! Duh!

Huh?

Okay, maybe I should back up a step and explain. This past weekend my dear Soup King and I were attempting to settle on what to do on the glorious sunny Sunday. On my list, after suggesting a walk in the park, or renting paddle boats, was going to Home Depot and buying soil and some more bricks.

“How about we do something that isn’t a chore?” Soup King suggested.

I attempted to explain, “A chore? No, it’s FUN. It’s like shopping for shoes.” I paused as I considered that analogy. I chose it because women are supposed to like shoe shopping. I loathe it. Shoe shopping ranks lower than bathing suit shopping. Heck, grocery shopping rates above both of those. So I decided to amend my simile. “No, I hate shoe shopping. It ranks way above shoe shopping.”

He laughed and agreed that we could go buy dirt. Sadly, we dilly-dallied a little too long and never got around to it, but that’s okay. It just means that when I buy it next weekend I can promptly play in it. I’m not making mud-pies. I’m making a new garden bed to edge the path to my front door. Planting flowers and plants and watching them grow fills me with this wondrous joy. I feel connected to nature.

I’m not sure which is worse, my sister’s closet full of shoes or my flowerbed addiction.

 

 

Dear Winter,

 

It isn’t easy for me to say this, but we’re through. You simply didn’t try this year. One day you were there with your frost and bitter winds and the next you went away. You promised snow. You failed to deliver. Ah, we started off so promising. You eased the tedium of sweltering summer days with autumn’s cool breeze, but alas, you promised more than you meant to do. Even the plants and flowers have forsaken you.

Hyacinths and later blooming daffodils have joined the ranks since I took this.

Even plants that have refused to bloom for years have decided to display their flowery beauty!

I planted this 5 yrs ago. This is the first time it has bloomed.

I know you may try to win me back, but your efforts are in vain. Spring and I are already good friends.

Until next time, so long!

Regards,

Warm weather lover

I blame it on weeds

Zero. That’s how much writing I did this weekend. A case of procrastination? I admit, I often fall victim to that weakness. I can lose track of time trying to score an all time high Bejewled Blitz score, or perusing one more page of LOLcats. However, as my blisters prove, this weekend did not include aimless internet wandering. I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy gardening. The problem with gardening, as with writing, is that they both require a great deal of time.

My perennial flower beds, after eight or nine years of work are approaching a minimal maintenance phase. A little mulching, etc, as seasons require, perhaps replacing some bulbs I speared in my zealous digging, but otherwise, the bed only requires watering. I rarely even need to weed, as it is so filled in with flowering plants. My shade beds, a few years younger, have likewise reached phases that do not require regular maintenance.  I’m free to admire their beauty as I aim the sprinkler at them. My vegetable garden, on the other hand, is but an infant. Year two of my endeavor to eventually offset my insane grocery bill with food that has TASTE requires far more work. Leave the garden alone, aside from watering, for a week or two and weeds invade. Fail to tackle pest control and beautiful squash plants turn into wilting heaps of decimated foliage swarming with squash bugs. Add in the yard which must be mowed, and an entire weekend disappears under the deluge of yard work. I don’t water my back yard, in hopes it will grow slower. The weeds have figured out my plan and pesky natural selection foils my attempts to avoid mowing. All the tender weeds and grass surrendered to hardy drought tolerant weeds.

I considered getting a couple of goats once. Living in the city does not seem conducive to someone like me who’d rather get goats than operate a lawn mower. The city claims livestock is not allowed within city limits. Could someone please explain then why there’s a horse on a busy street hanging out on a property that isn’t even residential? What about the chickens I see when I ride my bike around the neighborhood? Okay, so maybe people are ignoring the rules. I have no problem with that explanation. However, what about the lady who owns a miniature horse. The animal equaled a very large dog, perhaps a Doberman or Labrador in height, but two or three times the size in weight. They are allowed. She checked with the city before she purchased it. So why not a couple of little goats the size of a medium-sized dog? I don’t really need goats. The rules simply confound and annoy me.

I promise to write this week, unless of course I spot a cow in the neighborhood, in which case I’ll be busy researching how to milk a goat.