It is always my goal to have the garden planted, or at least, mostly planted by Earth Day, April 22. My parents and grandparents always followed The Farmer’s Almanac; perhaps this need to do so comes from their habits. When the weather cooperates with lots of sun and a bit of rain in between, we can have quite a few lovely vegetables by late June or July. The photo above is just a sample of what we used to grow in our sunny garden at our previous home.
It’s hard starting a garden at any new home, but it’s even harder where one’s husband grew up. We both thought we knew the place so well, but time really does change all things, including ourselves. We didn’t do too badly our first summer, with our tiny plot just outside the back door, even though almost everything was planted starting the week after Earth Day. We did not get many tomatoes two summers ago, but we had a plenty of jalapeños from only two plants. We learned that deer do not like colorful caladiums, at least not after trying them. (So, now I dig them up in October and replant them each spring.) That spot is now an herb and flower garden, lots of zinnia seeds, columbine transplants from two houses ago, and my new flowers, dahlias—-a few caladiums are planted around the edges, to keep the deer away. I hope they all come up!
Daughter Sarah was up for spring break in early April (she’s a teacher). After much rainy weather, we finally had a dry weekend and could plant our vegetable garden. First Dad tilled the soil–it had had a tree there two years ago, leaning over the house and the garden, but its soil is much better than the gritty mess of wood chips we had last summer. I was surprised when Sarah came out and dug all the holes for me. That made the job go much faster, but I didn’t mean for her to come home and work!
In the following weeks, dodging rain and high pollen days, I added zinnias between the tomatoes and peppers, and added a few more vegetables, zucchini, eggplant, and cucumber. The herb seeds are in their box (lots of basil!) and new rosemary and lavender are planted in new places–the old ones didn’t survive the winter. A few new bulbs have joined last-year’s peonies in the front yard. Perhaps they will bloom this year. And of course, there are more caladium bulbs to plant, more each year, it seems.
Sarah and Lucy loved potting plants and picking vegetables when they were little, but they mostly abandoned gardening during their teen years. (Who wants to weed when you can hang out with your friends instead?) Sarah has been a good gardener for several years now, and Lucy likes to have houseplants growing in her apartment.
The garden keeps changing. We cut down more trees, some dying, some badly placed, some just overgrown, but all opening up sunshine to the yard. Daughter Sarah and her husband made planter boxes for my Mother’s Day/birthday gifts, making the garden more fun. Lucy gave me new garden tools and seeds. Friend Edna divided the yellow irises at her mom’s house and gifted me some. Neighbor Jim had me take blue Irises and lilies from his area that is now shady–I’ve added some white ones from the store. This year, the flowers by the fence are all yellow. Next year, perhaps before, they’ll be a quartet of colors!