A gorgeous day in the Lowcountry…mid 80s, clear blue skies and bright sunshine. Wisteria is coming back from the frosts that killed its first flush a couple of weeks ago, camellias and azaleas are offering a scant but determined final bloom and all around my neighborhood there are pinks, reds, corals, and soft purples rejoicing in Spring’s renewal. We have all the windows open every day and night and the fresh air is such a joy after the claustrophobic chill of winter.
The dogs spend a lot more time outdoors. I spend more free time at the first wave of farm markets. Last week’s excitement was over asparagus. This week I am giddy over the prospect of first crop green (spring) garlic (as farmers thin their fields) and sugar snap peas.
The bluebirds are nesting in the backyard. I love watching them skim across the open flight path between the azaleas on one side, the shrubbery on the other, over the ancient wisteria to their little houses along the back fence. As we are contemplating the possibility of moving from this lovely old house to a smaller place the one thing I should truly miss the most is this yard. Most people miss their homes…apparently for me home is the outdoors, not the in.
Which means I probably should not be surprised at little environmental themes that seem to be continually popping up in my writing. Who knew dragons had such an important environmental niche to fill? (okay, so that doesn’t really surprise me as they would be an apex predator and as such a linchpen in their cycle…. I just hadn’t really given it much consideration till they showed up) Glad they did.
It’s a hard thing for me to deal with this spring…yes, February is the beginning of our spring planting season here in the Lowcountry…and here it is March and I have precious little in the ground save the quickie crops…radishes, etc.
This spring…we are thinking we will be moving. If not right now, as soon as school ends, which is long before most crops will be grown and ready to harvest. How then to have a decent garden at a time when the uncertainty of the months ahead makes it ever more important to have my own source of vegetables? The pear tree is covered in blooms. If we are here long enough, there will be bumper crops of pears, blackberries and black raspberries. The blueberries are still in pots, I got them last winter on sale, and didn’t want them in the ground till I could be assured of no strange weather eccentricities. Now would be the perfect time to put them in…but…ya know, moving.
Herbs aren’t so difficult, they do well in planters as long as they have room to spread out. So this weekend, pots of Mexican oregano, tarragon, white sage, lots of new starts off my very old rosemary. I still need marjoram, cilantro, and basil (probably a couple of kinds, variety is the spice of life) as well as nasturtiums.
And then there is the entire issue of which crops to plant now, which I can pot and transport, which we will simply have to do without this season. My much loved pod peas will be grown and ready to harvest in no time. Things like cauliflower and broccoli? Sigh.
The obvious alternative would be to see if I can budget a share in a CSA. This might be the best option…particularly in a transitional period where I will most likely need another year to get the garden itself ready for proper planting, and when our hectic lives are better suited to some crops than others, a CSA would provide a better range of produce. I am checking it out now and will let ya’ll know how it goes.
This is VBS week and I am going out to help with bible school at a very poor inner city school. Worked at the school a year ago putting in garden beds so the school could grow their own vegetables, and was sad to hear from the children that the plants came up…and were allowed to die untended.
Perhaps this year, if I can get some help, I can go plant their vegetable beds and make it out to the school at least once or twice a week just to water and weed. Also thinking a few perennials would go a long way toward helping them have success…strawberry plants, blueberry bushes, sunchokes, ground nuts (Indian potatoes), scarlet runner beans, and kale. That alone would give the kids something to harvest almost year round down here. I need to put this up to the school and the church group.