November 20th, 2009
I recently ordered a copy of Ken Druse’s Making More Plants. I wasn’t 10 pages into reading this beautiful book when I experienced serious pains. It was gardener’s guilt.
How many years have I gardened and failed to over-winter plants, start new plants from the ones I have, save seeds or pass along plant cuttings to my gardening friends? Druse makes it all seem so…so…natural. And worthwhile. And beautiful.
So this week during my fall garden cleanup, I made a particular effort to make a deposit into my ever-growing seed vault.
This is a scarlet runner bean, beautiful as much for its lovely vines and flowers as for its long bean pods. In fact, truth be told, I never ate the first bean because they became intricately intertwined with the malabar spinach that re-seeded itself and grows like kudzu in my garden.
But I did save the pods and now have seeds for next year. I easily have four times as many seeds as there were in the stingy seed packed I purchased last year. My plan is to try growing the vines up the clothesline poles and perhaps on a section of my white picket garden fence.
With all the news stories on Americans saving more, I must ask: Are you saving your seeds?
Posted In: Gardening
September 25th, 2009
It is a season of changes. Not only is the weather cooling, life is changing here.
Benjamin, my only child (my baby!), has gone off to college at The Citadel. He is the third generation on his dad’s side to attend college there. When he graduates, he will wear “The Ring” with his dad, uncles, great uncles and cousins. He knew what to expect going there. He is well-prepared for the challenge. And he seems to thrive on the manly camaraderie of the place.
That still didn’t stop me from crying for pretty much the first week while he was gone. The tears were drawn from a combination of missing him, worrying about him and being disoriented by the new direction of my life as an empty-nester.
I have stopped crying now, but am still trying to navigate a life with a 50% reduction in the number of men I need to take care of on a daily basis.
In other changes, Harry has left private practice and gone back to work for the government. The book I was co-writing this summer, Grocery Gardening, is finally off my desk. The six new baby chicks will be laying in about another month–leaving us with 10 – 12 eggs a day to dispose of. And I have major new work and writing assignments to keep me busy.
Oh, the garden?
I can’t say this has been my most productive or meticulous garden year. There were so many distractions and challenges that kept me out of the garden. Still, Mother Nature was forgiving for just this year. The work from past years has paid off, as perennials continued to bloom, flowers to re-seed and the overall bones of the raised beds, fences and arbor to hold it all together. I don’t think I can continue this type of neglect next year and still hold my head up as a gardener though.
Now, as weather cools and all these darned changes slow down just long enough for me to catch my breath, I am enjoying being out in the garden, putting in fall vegetables and tidying up for the winter to come.
I’m actually looking forward to winter now. I have a fancy new cold frame to put together this weekend. I’m setting up the light garden in the basement to grow microgreens. Cooking projects, sewing projects, writing projects and, of course, visits to The Citadel and Ben’s visits home are going to keep me busy.
Overall, I’m still living the good life. It’s a life of transitions, but it’s a good life.
(You can click on an image for a larger version of the photo.)