You are currently browsing the monthly archive for April 2010.

So people keep telling me that I can take Chloe out into the yard with me if I just put her on a blanket with some toys. To which I reply, have you seen this girl move now that she’s figured out crawling? She’ll be across the yard munching on the sweet woodruff before I get my kneeling pad in position.

But yesterday was beautiful and I had things to plant and Eric was in bed recovering from a cold, so I decided to at least give it a try. And what do you know, it worked! Maybe only that one time, since I think she sat still because there were so many new and interesting things to look at all around her, but it worked. She sat and played with her butterfly while I planted lettuce.

Then I noticed some brown straw sticking out of her mouth. “Don’t eat that,” I told her, pulling it out of her mouth and casting about for something to replace it. I picked a sorrel leaf, a parsley leaf, and then, with some hesitation, a bit of an onion leaf. I figured that if she ate it, maybe she would learn not to chew on random things in the garden, which is a valuable lesson until I can teach her what things are edible and what things aren’t.

I put the leaves in her lap and watched as she picked up the onion. I winced a bit, thinking myself a terrible mother, as it moved inexorably into her mouth. I waited while she munched. Then waited some more as more of it disappeared. She finished it and looked up to me as if for more.

“Huh,” I said, and picked some more. I tasted it myself before handing it down, and it was actually very mild, maybe because these are second-year Candy onions. But it still had some onion flavor and bite, and I was impressed. I went back to planting and got marigolds and scallions in while she finished the onion and worked on the parsley. She seemed to like that, too (more than the avocado I fed her at dinner). This kid is totally my daughter.


The cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, choy sum (oh my gods all the choy sum), rocket, sorrel, and Red Russian kale are in the ground. I’ve been wanting to plant for a week, but first there was rain and then there was an inadvertent two-hour nap and then there was a girls’ night out. But last night, I got my sweatpants and gloves on and headed out.

The vegetable garden is where I dug down to make paths and mounded the beds up. This year’s brassicas bed (sharing with greens and peas) has been getting mounded higher and higher because of the extra dirt I’m moving as I lay the brick path, so I had to dig and rake and smooth it out a bit. Also remove some parsnips from last year that I didn’t bother to harvest because they were so small but seem determined to sprout seed this year. And I’m not letting them. My entire raised bed is full of parsnip seedlings. I’m pretty sure they’re why my carrots and beets aren’t growing; those rows are nothing but parsnips.

I’m pretty pleased with the Jiffy pots and tray. The roots did, in fact, grow through the pot, as they haven’t in past years; but I broke them into pieces anyway, just to be sure. That bed is now full: yesterday’s plantings, plus the peas and a couple of lonely spinach plants. I’m not going to bother trying to replant the spinach that failed to come up because it’s only lasted one or two pickings in the past anyway. I’ll get my spinach from the farmer’s market.

That leaves, I think, two and a half beds in the herb garden free. The garlic, broad beans, onions from last year, and perennial herbs are already in; I have one empty one currently covered by compost, half the turnip bed (which isn’t growing well anyhow, since I didn’t remember to water it early), and one small bed by the fence. Also some space by the perennial herbs, but I already know that’s where the rosemary and dill and cilantro and parsley and basil will go. I’m planning on replanting carrots and beets, in this parsnip-free zone. What else will go in here? Maybe green beans, or dry beans. I’m starting to feel like I know enough about what needs to get planted when that I don’t have to write everything down and plan it out ahead of time, which is a pretty neat feeling. It probably means I’ll end up forgetting to plant something I really really wanted, but them’s the breaks.

I have done so much since last writing! I mean, not a lot objectively, but a lot for me for the garden for spring. I went to a neighborhood gardeners’ meet; I filled in part of the brick path; I replanted garlic (per a promise with Carol); I hardened off brassicas and alliums and marigolds; I planted up tomatoes; I started cucurbits and flowers and a seed-embedded Christmas card we got; I uprooted the wormwood and lemon balm; I watched the rain fall onto my garden and through my garage roof.

And I’d have written about some or all of it if I hadn’t gotten food poisoning. It was relatively mild, meaning I only threw up once and recovered in about two days. I don’t know what caused it, but i suspect some leftover bean dip. It was homemade bean dip, so I can’t even say anything about the sorry state of modern food hygiene. Pity, really.

So I will try to catch up over the next few days here. We’ll see how that goes, though, since the rain is finally supposed to stop and that means I may be able to get out and do the myriad things I’ve been intending to do outdoors. It also means that I’m going to have to brace myself for the new weeds grown up in the luxurious dampness, but I knew that was coming.

I killed eight or nine ants inside the house yesterday. Tiny ones, not like the carpenter ants we had a couple of years ago. Ones exactly like the teeming millions in the herb garden where I thought I destroyed that nest last year. It seems not. Silly me.

So yesterday Eric mixed Twenty Mule Team Borax and sugar and sprinkled it between the nest and the house, per the Internet’s instructions. I’m vaguely worried this will merely draw more pests, but it was on the Internet, so it must be true. <beat>

The peas are growing nicely–well, the Golden Sweets are. A few of the old Pioneers came up, maybe twenty percent. I planted some of the Alaskas I bought several days ago, so I’ve got my backup in place. Some turnips are coming up; some spinach and komatsuna are coming up; weed rocket and sorrel are coming up all over. This is because I let it all go to seed last year and didn’t clean it up. And even though they’re tasty weeds, they’re still technically weeds. Though some landed in a spot that wasn’t already designated for something else, so I could always just pretend I meant to do that…

In the meantime, the choy sum and lettuce inside are growing nicely, and I’m starting to think it’s time to start hardening them off. The tomatoes will need replanting soon, too. And I’ve got five pots on the back porch, all empty, all needing something in them. But what? It’s time to make some decisions.

Where did spring come from? Only a few days ago everything was drab and gray. When my mom arrived on the first she commented on how dead all the trees were (she lives in Washington, where evergreens are way more common than in Ohio). But a few days into her visit we looked at the blooming tulips and daffodils, and she moved some wild onion out of my beds (and took some daylilies for her own garden) and trimmed the budded branches of the raspberries. And today, when she left, the peach tree has a million blooms on it and there was a green mist among the trunks along the side of the freeway as we drove toward the airport. So quickly! And so welcome!

Flowers and even fruit are only the beginning. In the seed lies the life and the future.

Marion Zimmer Bradley