Busy, busy in the garden

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Clockwise, from top left: artichoke, rhubarb, oregano, chives.

I spent a good part of yesterday evening and most of today in the garden.  The weather continues to be beautiful and things are popping up, needing to be uncovered from their winter mulch cover.  I planted the rest of my artichoke seedlings; uncovered the garlic; counted how many garlics have sprouted so far (some varieties are at 100%, a couple are in the high 70% or so, and 1 variety is a “late bloomer” and has yet to show itself); cut the old asparagus fronds; discovered surprising amounts of oregano and chives growing under the mulch; cleaned out the strawberries; and put the bird netting back on their hoops–the Conestoga wagon look that makes my front yard look like it has been invaded by 19th century pioneers.

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Conestoga wagon look.

One thing is for certain when I am in the garden, especially on a weekend: people take notice.  And comment.  “You have quite the little farm/operation here.”  “Your netting idea is brilliant!”  “Do you mind if we look at your chickens?”  (The kids in our neighborhood LOVE the chickens.)  I met several new neighbors last night and today.  I like that about my neighborhood.  We are some friendly folk!  I always try to say hi to people walking by, as it just seems rude to be 3 feet from someone and completely ignore them.  But there are days when I don’t feel like interacting with people–those are days I try not to be outside when I know it’s going to be busy.  But for the most part, it’s nice to see a friendly (sometimes familiar, sometimes not) face and just to know who lives in the neighborhood.  It helps to retain that small-town feel, which is really appealing about where I live.  Nowhere else have I lived, ever, where when walking down the sidewalk it is common practice to make eye contact with a passing stranger and say hello.  I have a friend who moved here a couple of years ago from a large metropolis on the East Coast and she was confused by her first encounter on the sidewalk.  “I was walking to work the other day and I passed someone on the sidewalk who said ‘Good morning’ to me.  Who does that?” she asked.  She has since gotten used to it and thinks it’s a charming characteristic of our little city.  It’s nice to live in a friendly place.

I had to start more seedlings today.  It’s time for solanums–peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants…so I dug out my seed stash and picked out what I wanted to start.  I had 40 varieties, total, of solanums that I want to plant this year.  Yikes, I might have a bit of a problem.  Hubby laughed at me, then gave me a hug because I am his garden nerd seed-head.  I only had room to start 8 varieties, so I struggled to whittle down my choice to just 20% of what I want, no, wait–NEED to plant this season.  I must find a place to transplant my onions and shallots so I can start some more seeds, or I need to dig out more pots.  Since my last 4 garden boxes are not going to be built for another few weeks, I guess I need to dig out more pots.

Oh, and today might set a record for earliest garden harvest–I plucked some oregano and made pizza for lunch.  I couldn’t resist.

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I was tired this evening when I finished my garden work, but I made myself go for a run.  I even went on my longest run of the year.  Hubby went with me, but we left Stinker at home because she’s just struggling too much to keep up.  She gave us both the evil death eye as we put on our running shoes, but as soon as we got home we took her for a short, and slow, walk.  She doesn’t realize how much she’s slowing down these days, but she enjoys the short walks just as much as the longer ones.  We went for a little longer one early this morning, and she spent most of the day outside with me while I played in the garden, so she had a pretty good day all in all.

I spent Friday daydreaming at work (while working, I promise!) about how to shift my career.  I think I’ve got some ideas that are realistic forming, so my first step to test the waters is to sell some of my veggies this summer from my yard.  With as many people that stop by to comment on the garden, I might be able to attract a fairly decent base of customers.  And if I really plant 40 varieties of solanums, I’m going to have to get rid of some of that produce!  I already have a ton of garlic planted, too.  If things go reasonably well this summer, I’ll get more serious about finding extra space for growing.  I’ve got a few more ideas floating around, but they aren’t solidified yet, so I’ll keep dreaming and planning with the hopes that someday I’ll be able to take my gardening to a new level that will sustain me physically, emotionally, and financially.

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They made it!  Some of the 300+ cloves of garlic I planted last fall.

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