It’s still winter, which is part of the gardening season, believe it or not. In Michigan, it’s the planning, dreaming and scheming phase of gardening.
We have the good fortune of gardening with our next door neighbor, a generous senior citizen who appreciates gardening enough to share her ground with us. She had invited us to come for brunch today to talk about this year’s garden. We had a lovely meal together, perused some seed catalogs, brainstormed some additions to this summer’s garden, and conversed about matters ranging from theoretical physics to politics to the existence of God along with what we are going to grow this year. We covered a lot of ground.
Here are some of the ideas we came up with.
• We’ll grow carrots. We haven’t grown them here since our soil contained a lot of clay, at least when we first started gardening here. Over the years our soil condition has improved. Plus, our neighbor requested some.
• We will try lettuce and cucumbers again. One of the great things about gardening together is that we have space to experiment. We have grown the former with a good deal of success and the latter with not much. It’s always fun to see what thrives in any given summer.
• We will give successive planting of peas another shot. Our neighbor’s yard has a great “pea garden” on the west side of a trellis. It’s proven to be a good place for planting peas so we will continue to grow them there this year. We hope to time it right and get in a second crop this year.
• Green beans! Somehow, they were skipped last year, and I missed them. I am really fond of our bean growing structure, a 3 bamboo poled tower with a terracotta topper which we re-assemble with a lot of stress and cursing involved. The part I like is when the beans actually start growing UP the tower and make a green teepee that appeals to my inner child.
• More variety of greens/ less kale and collards. We did not plan together as well last year so we ended up with about 20 kale plants and a dozen collards between the two yards. That was too many. We will grown a dozen kale perhaps and half as much collards.
• Mmmmm squash. We all agreed that more squash would be a good idea. So we will plant more summer and winter squash both.
The afternoon sun shone brightly in Michigan today, belying the 20 degree F temperature outside. Our conversation and planning generated a warm atmosphere that, combined with the sunshine, made spring seem just around the corner.