Tuesday, April 12, 2005

From the Ground Up

Last weekend, spring really began for me, as I spent my first afternoon of the season in the yard, beginning to clean up and prepare for the spring garden. While I was out there, getting sunburned, by the way, I thought about Amy Stewart's delightful book about her first garden, From the Ground Up. Tuffy P. gave me a copy before I embarked on my first garden on our little city property, and I consider it a must-read for the would-be gardener.

There are hints of green in our yard already. A few bulbs have poked their heads out and we even have a few tiny daffodils blooming by the wall separating our house from Elson and Anna's place. And then there is the grass....this would be OK except for all the effort I have put into eradicating the stuff from the yard. I am not a fan of grass. The idea of that kind of mono-culture in the yard is so peculiar to me. I've replaced the grass with a mixed garden, but the green stuff is stubborn. Soon, I'll yank it out again. I don't use any nasty chemicals on the yard - end of discussion. The two composters help keep our ground rich.

Out front we have the obligatory umbrella katalpa (ok, how do you spell katalpa?), and a robust perennial garden, with a few holes I fill in with marigolds and petunias and whatever strikes my fancy. And let's not forget the lovely rose that Aunt Madeleine gave us. It bloomed late into fall last year.

Out back, we have three Japanese maples, a plum tree, a couple saskatoonberry trees (still young), a blackberry patch, and the mother-in-law's bed. Tuffy P's mom dug perennials from her garden for our garden, and we treasure this tear-shaped patch out back...in front of the big Japanese maple that my dad picked out for us.

Next weekend, spinach goes in - the first seeds of the season to be planted. I would have put them in on Sunday past if I didn't get sun-burned first. Spinach loves the cold, and you can plant it here as soon as you can work the soil. We are usually eating spinach salad before the neighbours have even contemplated planting.

Last year, I was away at button accordion camp when the zucchinis threatened to take over the house. Tuffy made all the zucchini bread everyone we know could eat, but still there was a couple dozen huge ones waiting for me when I got home. It was a good year for all the plant that loved constant moisture. I'm betting this year will be dry and hot - good for the chilis.

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