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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