March 31; planting seeds

Jeez, we’ve lots to do. Johnny’s seeds (my favorite supplier) just announced they only have enough seeds left for commercial growers. That includes me, but I ordered early. So now check with all the suppliers you can find on google, and look especially for organic suppliers. You may never find seeds at stores, this spring.

So get whatever seeds you need for the vegetables, herbs, or whatever you want — because you may also not be able to find seedlings for tomatoes, peppers, and other long season crops. Heaven knows what will happen tomorrow, so be ready.

If you like lettuce and greens, almost all can be planted now, or soon. Depending on your zone. Zone 4 and lower, you’re fine. Lettuce is cold hardy. For now plant seeds for an early crop; think about summer lettuce later. I’d plant a bit of every type: loose-leaf, iceberg, romaine, bibb, Boston, and other greens such as Mizuna (what a flavor!) and Black Seeded Simpson (Thomas Jefferson’s favorite, and mine as well.)

Read down below and you’ll find it’s time to plant peas now. RIGHT NOW. Well, okay, maybe the weekend. Don’t plant Sugar Snaps unless you love them fresh. They don’t freeze worth a damn. Also get some snow peas in; they freeze nicely for stir-frys or just for fun and flavor.

Some veggies and such you’ll want to start inside. More on that as son as I can get to it. But for now, find a source for planting late and cells.













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March 30 — another hard day

So the deal with gardening is that it keeps you sane. It takes you out, away from the news. Where I am (Rhode Island) the outdoor world is cold, wet, and unforgiving right now, but that’s about to change. The buds are coming on the trees, daffodils and tulips are struggling, and…

First the howling storms awoke us,

Then the rains came down to soak us,

And now before the eye can focus,


The soil is too wet now, but shortly I’ll be planting peas. You come too. Order 1/2 lb. while you’re waiting.

Meanwhile, never forget: the virus is always looking for new hosts. Don’t let it find you.

Take care my friends, and love from Peter

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This damn…

…blog-making machine of mine called “Word Press” has a nasty way of putting  everything I write atop everything else I’ve posted, so if I publish something new it goes on top, not the bottom — the way newspapers, books, and everything else works in this whole, damned, friggin’ world.  Accchhhh!!!!

So okay, we’ll deal with that.

HEREIN, and, ahem, below, everything I write will be new; all designed to walk you gently into the world of gardening — where peace, beauty, solitude, silence, and healing and more may all be found. This saved my life once after my tour as a decorated Marine Corps combat veteran in Vietnam almost killed me. Here — via PTSD — not over there. I’d been growing stuff since I was 9, so I took it up again in a battle against powerful demons  who ended up no match for the soil and the magic of plants.

Once this post ends, we’ll end up back somewhere else, in an old post, with new stuff on top again. Forgive me, but there it is.

So let’s go. This blog has a history of years, mostly on gardening, but also on life. I’m bringing it back to life now on the chance that it might help even one should struggling to survive this Covid-19 ugliness. That means a little garden. Flowers or veggies, it doesn’t matter. Plant what you like. You’ll need a yard, or access to soil, which gets at least six hours of sun a day.  Don’t scrimp on that. Rich soil is also nice, but you can improve that with nothing more than leaves, cut grass, kitchen scraps, and other stuff I’ll get to.

(Meantime, if you have questions, try looking up what you need in the archives. They might be organized alphabetically. Might, I say. I have faults.)

Okay, so you have a garden site. Keep it small.  Getting from there to a garden isn’t hard. One option is to hire Igor the Tiller-man to turn it all over and till it up. Then you go in, toss the grass clumps into a pile (soon known as a worm-and-compost pile), rake things smooth and plant. Easy peasy. You’ll figure out the tools you need. Whatever you do, buy the best; nothing cheap. Gardening is an addiction, and you’ll be at it a long time.

Another option is to dig up a square foot of soil, turn it over, shake out the sod. and buy a book called “Square-foot gardening.” They’ll take care of you after that. It’s a good book.

Okay, Jan’s making spaghetti for dinner, so we’ll get back together tomorrow (I hope) up on top. Give yourself a hug, and be careful of this friggin’ virus. If you play life right, it won’t get you.


Oops, forgot. This last will be up top somewhere, but I can’t move it, so look for it later (or earlier, or something like that.)

Some things you’ll want to plant from seed, and I suggest getting these from mail-order sources. Seeds in the hardware store and elsewhere tend to be older and of lower quality.

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Getting there

Alright, two ways to go from here:

One is to stay out in the garden and keep going, adding rows, adding seeds and seedlings and so on as the weeks and months amble by — and that works:  seeds from the packets, seedlings from the nursery, and off you go.

The other is to order what seeds you’ll need — including peppers, tomatoes, and such, which need to be started inside under lights — and go that way. This means setting up an indoor growlight station (which is quite cheap and easy, actually) and grow from seed as much as possible to have a better choice of variety, and avoid commercial greenhouse diseases, of which there are many.  More on that later, below.

But let’s stay out in the garden for now. It’s spring. Plenty of time for growing from seed, mind you, indoors or out. It’s almost too early to plant tomatoes indoors from seed in my house (Rhode Island — where I don’t plant until six weeks from setting out the seedlings), so hope for a sunny day and keep going with garden soil.


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We’re back — just in time.

DAMNITALL, it’s been too long, but now the world is in a bit of a pinch.  We need what were called “Victory Gardens,” in WWII — to self-sustain family and friends with food from your own yard. And to cheer up. To get out of the house. To create life. To heal your crazy brain. To do an end run on that damned depression you don’t even know is following you. Yeah, THAT on. We’re here to tell how. It’s been a long time, and some of us may have forgotten how deep and when the plant the peas — among other things.

So let’s get at it.

The peas go in now.  I know, I know: the soil is ripe, the time is ripe, the peas are ready, but it’s damn raw out there and we’re not ready. Do it anyway; peas are a cold weather crop and you’ll be harvesting them in the June sun, and you’ll be happy.

Order a bunch; half pound or more. Make then English (or garden) peas, the ones you shuck They freeze well, which is what you want — along with another freezer maybe. Sugar snap peas don’t freeze worth a damn. As soon as your soil is ready to work (more in a minute on how to get it there) carve out a low channel maybe 6 inches wide and 2 inches deep with a rake or hoe, piling up the soil evenly on either side. That’s your seed bed. Peas love company, so broadcast them by hand such that they almost touch — or do touch. No rules here. Then cover the seed well from the dirt piles on either side.  Peas try to sneak out of the planting bed at night, and you don’t want to go around burying them all over again when you’re trying to get ready for church.

Okay. so the peas are in. No sense labeling them; you’ll know they’re peas. Done and done.

Now, back to “getting there.”


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Hold on….

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Navajo chant (ancient)

Today I will walk out, today everything unnecessary will leave me,
I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body.
I will have a light body, I will be happy forever,
nothing will hinder me.
I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me.
I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.
I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.

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On Canned Peas

I remember canned peas at our childhood dinner table. They were boiled down to a certain nutrient-free and tasteless grey, but when launched from a fork handle bopped sharply with the heel of your hand, those peas stuck to the kitchen ceiling better than anything but oatmeal.

Beans and asparagus had a harder time of it; they fell apart on both sides of the fork, while only the middle piece gained any altitude. Liver, fried with bacon for an hour or so, stayed in one piece but had no sticking power and bounced back down to be grabbed by (or fed to) the dog.

And so it was.

Now we grow our own peas, the ones in a pod that ripen in June. What a hoot.

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Try this:

For a little fun, harvest some leeks or scallions by cutting them off at the soil line, leaving roots in the ground. These are cold-hardy plants, so leave the roots to over-winter — but mulch deeply with leaves or straw to keep your soil from freezing. Come spring, you should get a new crop from the same roots, which means you don’t have to buy new plants. Heh.

It’s the garden version of a woodsman trick called “coppicing,” whereby you take down a tree for cordwood or whatever, but leave the roots intact. They’ll send up new shoots, and you cut all but one or two off. These will grow at light speed because of the healthy roots below.

Small leeks can also be mulched and over-wintered for a fresh crop of beautiful leeks in spring, when nobody else has them. Keeps you out of the grocery store….

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“I can explain this.”


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