Carolyn’s Online Magazine
DREAMING OF GARDENING?
A time to cozy up on a comfortable sofa, encased in a favorite blanket. A time to drink a favorite warm beverage—coffee, tea, hot chocolate—and delve into your stack of unread books while watching the snow fall and blow.
A time to heat your home to the temperature you were complaining about last summer. A time to whine about the constant and excessive snowfalls, the bitter cold wintry weather.
A time to yearn for warmer days of 2010.
In that vein, you gather the daily mail, filled with gardening catalogues, and begin to dream about the coming of spring—and summer gardens. Making it official, the National Mail Order Gardening Association declared January the official month for mail order gardening.*
I wrote the above in an article, January Catalogues Lead to June Gardens, posted on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS (Jan. 12, 2010). Just a note: January is National Mail Order Gardening Month.
Fast forward five years to January 12, 2015, when my email brought me my first gardening post (I don’t seem to get them in snail mail anymore, probably due to former constant moves to new localities).
…releases online guide to new home and garden products for spring it shouted out to me.
As I glance at the subject line I recall the results of my last year gardening efforts. From my lush snow pea bushes I harvested three snow peas. My greens never matured. Green beans produced only a handful of yield. Only my potatoes produced semi-adequately. Right now, with the Ides of March approaching, I have no desire to dig my hands into Mother Nature’s gift of nice fresh dirt.
Why did we do so poorly?
- we are blessed with rocky ground
- we are blessed with soil made acid by the many fir trees in our community—our yard being no exception
- last year we were out of town quite a bit
- we have a healthy deer population
Concerning the deer population, in 2010 I posted Photos of A Deer in a Fenced Garden
It seems that for all my love for the soil and the planting I basically created the Deer Diner filled with appetizing feasts for the forest deer. Their dessert platter was filled with rainbow-colored flower blossoms in pots in my yard.
Somehow, after last year’s efforts, seeing the email touting releases online guide to new home and garden products for spring didn’t have its usual effect on me.
The snow is melting. I should have plant starts in tiny pots, preparing their shoots for the outside garden. Although my enthusiasm is a notch below my IQ level, the only thing I have going is a large planter in which I inserted tulip bulbs that were entering their death throes if I didn’t place them under piles of dirt. As of today, 2 of 10 bulbs have stems that have broken the soil.
I recently read The Diary of Martha Ballard, 1785-1812. Martha was a midwife West of the Penobscot River in Maine. She cared for her garden between delivering babies Throughout the year she recorded her plantings and harvests at her home. Below are a few excerpts taken from her May, 1792, entries:
- 1 Clear & pleast…Began to make Gardin. at home. workt in my gardin.
- 2 Clear & pleast Day but a frost ys morn. I workt in ye Gardin till near night,
- 5 Cloudy the most of ye Day. I have been at home…I have Planted Beens & Beets before the Door. the Boys planted Potatoes. mr Livirmr Sowd Pees for us on the Entervail.
- 7 A Shoury Day…I have been at home, workt in my Gardin; Planted Cucumbers.
- 8 …Clear Except Showers at Evng. I workt Some in my gardin
- 9 Clear & warm. I have planted Beens, Cucumrs, Sowd peppers, Carrots & Cabbage.
- 12 Clear & warm. I returnd home at 9h morn, left my Patients Cleverly. I Sowd Beets, Carrots, Parsnips & Planted Beens & Musk mellons; Sowd cabbage & French Turnips.
- 14 Clear. I have been at home. Jona helpt furrow for Planting.
- 15 I have Beets, Carrots & Beens up.
Perhaps when the heat of the spring sun makes its appearance my attitude towards gardening in 2015 will improve, because there is something basic, something spiritual, about playing in dirt, frozen and buried under a white winter blanket, emerging and warming from the spring/summer sun.
Furthermore, one of the things I love is the way the dirt of the earth feeds us in so many ways. It pushes food to feed us from the depths of its being. It serves us a platter of goodies that that feeds our bodies and souls. It creates barriers that direct creeks away from our house foundation.
I’ll end today with a comment I overheard in a diner conversation: 40% of the population lives in cities—it’s going up to 60%. “I don’t want to live in the city, where you are so dependent on others…you need dirt to feed cows…” said one patron.