Tag Archives: garden planning

WISHING FOR A LAZY SUMMER

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My first seed catalog for 2017 arrived in the mail on the same day my winter CSA delivery came this week.

Opening the Community Shared Agriculture box was like unwrapping a gift. Inside were spinach, potatoes, lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, apples, and carrots.

As I washed the crisp purple and greens leaves of the lettuce and admired the sleek, fresh skins of the cucumbers and zucchini, the convenience of having the healthy food dropped off at my doorstep each week became apparent and appreciated. I didn’t have to pull any weeds, worry about temperatures or rain, pluck bugs or get my hands smudgy. I just opened my door.

I scrubbed the potatoes underneath a weak stream of water. Dirt washed away revealing a thin skin on the spuds that didn’t need peeling. I gave the carrots a bath, too, discovering a fresh orange color. I scraped the peel off, and a brighter orange was revealed. The carrots were thick and ugly, not at all shaped like typical bunches outlined in a children’s coloring book. But they tasted sweet and easily could be cut into edible discs.

I washed the apples and spinach leaves and put away the red and yellow cherry tomatoes. Several salad combinations came to mind.

Then I sliced the potatoes, adding onions and pats of butter to the dish, and set the oven to bake them for an hour. Soon, the smell of comfort food filled the house, and I sat down to browse through the pictures of vegetables and flowers in my newly-arrived catalog while the potatoes baked.

The magazine enticed me. Images of healthy peas lined up in fresh pods, red tomatoes sliced in half, slick and round deep-purple eggplant in bunches and smooth yellow wax beans displayed in a sieve filtered through my fingers as I turned each page.

I wanted to grow almost every fruit and vegetable that passed by my eyes.

Then I viewed the flowers. Visions of Pansies, Petunias, Snap Dragons and Gaillardia captured my attention. I browsed through several pages of sunflowers.

Words describing the flowers as “glorious,” “fragrant” and “easy to grow” jumped off the pages.

“Easy to grow” is what I wanted to find. Descriptions of “disease resistant” vegetables also coaxed me to look unsuccessfully for “bug resistant.” I started to circle pleasant descriptions with a neon blue highlighter and dreamed of an “Easy Peasy” and “Perfecto” kind of summer garden this year.

Soon, my potatoes were done. I put down the catalog and fixed myself a small serving. The baked potatoes tasted so good.

I started thinking about the potatoes the Green Thumbs grew in our garden last summer. I picked bugs off our potato plants week after week leading up to a disappointing harvest. The potatoes were small and scarce. We could have bought a much better product at the local farm stand, although what we harvested did taste good. The experience, which fell short of expectations, made me hesitant to plant potatoes again, although the blue and purple potatoes I saw in the catalog raised my curiosity.

I went back to circling descriptions such as “unstoppable productivity” and “produce in abundance.” Could a bean described as “easy to grow with no serious pests or diseases” be for real? I highlighted the description with two neon blue circles.

My wish is for a lazy summer and a garden planted with simple-to-grow vegetables and a nice patch of low-maintenance flowers. Anything difficult to raise, I prefer to buy at the local farm stand — or have delivered to my door.

But the idea of taking it easy is only a wish no matter what food the Green Thumbs choose to grow. Gardening requires dedication, persistence, and hard work.

I’ve never met a successful lazy gardener.

–cawk

PLANNING A HAPPY NEW YEAR OF GARDENING

Some people spend months before Christmas mapping out where to put their garlands, trees, poinsettias and stockings.

Others bring a bunch of boxes up out of the basement and put stuff wherever it will go.

That’s me decorating, and that’s me in the garden.

Every spring I browse the local stores and greenhouses at the last minute for seeds and plants that interest me and then show up at the garden with the hodgepodge I found without doing any research about how to plant them, how much room they need to grow, or how to care for them.

Lack of planning works fine for the holidays. A Santa collection that begins to crowd the mantle can easily be moved two weeks later to the bookshelves.

But moving a row of tomato bushes that have been growing in the garden for more than a month to provide more room for sprawling eggplant isn’t so easy.

So as snow is falling outside and I’m storing that last box of ornaments next to the rolled up garden fence in the basement, I resolve to do better in 2015.

I’m going to browse the seed catalog that our community garden angel shared on New Year’s Day, get in touch with the other Green Thumbs and start working with them on mapping out a sample garden plot for spring.

Here’s to a Happy New Year of Gardening!

–cawk