Looks like a scene from one of those huge oil on canvas golden- framed pieces of art at the met minus the angels right there in my own back yard.
I was surrounded on all sides with some of the most beautiful clouds I’ve ever seen, with wet clothes (half sweat/half rain), cooling air, darkening skies. Time to go inside and relax after a sweltering muggy slow day at the nursery.
Like I always say, there’s more to working in the yard than working in the yard. The challenges, the physical activity, the sights, sounds, scents all inspire me, and help me realize that every day up there is different. Ahhhh, it’s great to be alive!!!
Sugar snap peas germinating into vines in less than a week. I’m looking forward to munching on these candy/veggies. Fun plant. I planted them under my deer fence so they have something to climb on without having to stake them. Veggie gardens should be filled to capacity with stuff you can pluck and eat without cooking. Go up to the garden after work hungry....leave full. No cooking, no dishes, no prep. Make a spot up in the garden to sit. I find that after the hard work is done, my garden is a place of incredible beauty and peace.
I saved the packages so I know who is who in the ground, not that it really matters, but if I like 'em a lot, I can plant the same thing next year. I'm a huge fan of seeds now- they pop up in less than a week, are available in all sorts of varieties, and extremely CHEAP!
Last week’s radish planting. My kid underestimated the importance of reading the seed package for planting info. There's a spot where the seeds were dumped in and clumped up in a huge mass. OOPS!
Last week we planted corn, it looks DAMN GOOD (even if it’s not that good for you, nutritionally). It is, though, fun to eat every now and then. Stalks are for fall decorations, so I don't have to buy them!
Do not bring stuff home unless you can plant it right away. Today I had to plant the rest of the tomatoes I brought home last week, dried out and shriveled-looking.
Food in hole!
Tomato plant deep into hole with food.
Finally in the ground. Seeds of chives planted in the empty ground between the tomato plants seven feet apart. Good use of space, compatible plants.
Corn dancing in the wind backlit by the warm afternoon sun. Cat always helps out when I’m toiling. Moral support!
Lastly, I had to put the more durable fence up. Ever heard a grown man swear at a little piece of plastic twine? Repeatedly? Bet not.
All four sides are done now. No deer. No rabbits. No vermin. Yea!
You gotta be smart about this. Think your projects through thoroughly before you start, otherwise your neighbors will hear you like mine did tonight!
More planting tonight. Cutleaf arugula/cherry tomatoes/sugar snap peas.
Cherry tomatoes went six feet apart and arugula went inbetween. Late to plant arugula but I don’t care- that was zee best part of my garden last year. There’s no sugarcoating it- my garden looks like shit today. But wait a week or so, and you will see something very different. Rome wasn’t....
Speaking of arugula, do you have any idea how they get such perfection in a seed packet? It’s all seeds, no sand/dirt/sticklets/or debris. Pure seed, two dozen perfect tiny orbs per pinchful that someone had to put there. How??? Who collected it? It’s a totally flawless product. Our industry gets little respect. Nobody really realizes how much skill and talent goes into this work except us. It’s probably like that in every industry, especially most school teachers.
Fertilizer prills look like giants in comparison to arugula seed. Horticulture is understatedly cool.
Manless clothing found after a day of toil on a sweltering gardening night somewhere above the Mason Dixon line recently.
Earbuds, reggae, bud light lime= ease of toil tonight. This song kept me company for a while.
I’ll admit it. This year I just got disinterested in my garden. I’ve walked past it and avoided eye contact, my relationship with that plot of land fractured by laziness. It all started last fall when I started ignoring it and let it go to weeds- just couldn’t help it! It’s a lot of work!
This spring with the never ending shitty weather that saw one last wood burning stove event in my home on June 3rd, I just preferred to go inside. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to plant a garden ever, at all, this year.
Yet Im surrounded at work with these plants, and the thought of not planting a garden this year would be like a high crime and misdemeanor punishable by some sort of impeachment in my own mind (no impeachment of anyone unfortunately at the moment), so yesterday I reluctantly grabbed my stuff and started working.
I vowed to keep the plant selection fun. I’m planting fun stuff to eat, not like zucchini and eggplants that I usually give away and never really know how to cook or store anyway.
Yesterday, we planted corn, radishes, heirloom tomatoes, romaine lettuce, onions, and just after we finished, it rained pretty hard which I interpreted as a sign from Mother Nature that reaffirmed her approval of the entire endeavor- that I wasn’t alone in this work.
To those of you who scoff at my interpretations, I can only say this:
Holding a shovel for long periods of time then crawling around in the dirt sweating and constantly pulling one’s pants up as the dirt, sweat, and effort conspire against a soul, a certain amount of insanity ensues, with the mind wandering off into unchartered territory.
Im not responsible!
First step- spray roundup on the entire garden area. Let the weeds dry before getting in there to work. Once it’s dry it’s ok. Sure, I use roundup A LOT. Almost daily. The negative news you have heard about the jury awards is hyped up and scoffed at by professionals. Nobody can convince people in my business that a jury of twelve non-medical professionals/non-chemists can determine when and where an 80 year old man got his cancer. Nobody can determine that. Your car exhaust emits dozens of cancer causing chemicals. Don’t worry about using roundup. Just follow the directions!
Step two- plant tomato plants six feet apart (lesson learned from last year when they were way way way too close).
Step three plant a row of radish and onions.
Corn at the end and romaine lettuce inbetween the tomato plants. They are a short crop and can coexist between the tall tomatoes. In a month all the lettuce will be eaten and something else will be in its place.
The entire sweaty time we were planting, there was a cat bird gossiping on the top of a mt. Laurel bush at the top of it’s voice for all to hear. It’s song was voiciferous and lengthy and non-stop. Whatever had happened in this lonely bird’s life must have been upsetting because of the loud and varied inflections in it’s song was striking.
I have noticed that this week the bird songs are at peak intensity and volume, starting at 4-4:15 am and going on until after sundown which is late this time of year.
Its all related I think; gardening and nature. Yeah, you gotta trudge up to the garden to toil for your own betterment, but whilst toiling one is surrounded not by news/current events/technology/man made distractions, but by Mother Nature in all her glory. Birds, sun rays intensifying the inherent beauty of plants, the soft feel of warm soil in one’s fingers not to mention the smells of life in the summertime air are hard not to notice.
Roses have more flowers coming also. They’ll flower all summer for kitchen table fragrance whilst I chomp on food from the garden.
David Benjamin- horticulture degree North Carolina State University graduated 1983, has worked at the nursery since 1976. Somewhat tired of eating grocery store food.