Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dirt Under My Fingernails

I love gardening. It fills me with a peace I find in no other activity. On perfect days like today, with a light breeze, hardly a cloud in the sky and the thermometer at 70 degrees, it feels like a crime to be sitting inside typing on the computer. But I've earned my little break.

This morning I planted 28 row feet of seed potatoes. I still have almost that much more to plant this afternoon. But since this is work I voluntarily undertake for my own benefit, I answer to no one for the rate I work at. After digging the first row and planting it, I sat down in a lawn chair, just under the shade of our apple tree to contemplate my work, and the rest of the garden as well. My cat came and joined me, writhing on the grass in contentment with the glorious day.

Over the last week, I've planted a few dozen chard transplants and celeriac seedlings, moved a few volunteer sunflower seedlings from the area where I fed the birds this winter, planted pumpkin and melon seeds in nine mounded earth piles, seeded another 13' row of mixed lettuces, planted all our popcorn and six bush zucchini seedlings, about a dozen sunflower seeds, and a fair number number of Cherokee Trail of Tears beans. This lineup includes several types of plant that I've never grown before. It should be an interesting year for the garden.

I'm working mostly in an enormous new bed we cleared this spring, about 45' x 37'. It's ambitious of me, but I wanted to see what we can manage to do on our modest 2/3 acre lot. I'm also approaching it as a test of how much gardening work I can sustain without too much grumpiness or exhaustion. I want the garden to remain a source of pleasure and peace for me, and not become a dreaded task. We'll see if keeping up with the cultivating, and putting up much of the produce for winter, proves that I've bitten off more than I can chew.

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