It’s Official: the First Gardening Weekend of 2012

The weather was nice last weekend, so I was out in my garden. From the sound of it, so were many of my gardening friends.

Larry Caplan, a local Purdue Extension Agent, wrote in last week’s newspaper column that it is an appropriate time to plant lettuce, broccoli, and things like that. So, that’s what I did. In the process, I put into action this year’s plan to try to maximize the amount of things I can grow in my little space.

I decided to try some containers in the middle of my concrete “yard”. I’m curious to discover how it will turn out–whether it’ll be worth my time or if my plants will just get fried to a crisp. I’m starting with some flat containers of lettuces and will add broccoli and kohlrabi starts later. Then will come summer squash and cucumbers in separate containers.

I’d been planning to use a kiddie pool for my lettuce/broccoli/kohlrabi garden, but instead found some plastic tubs at Menards that I hope will work even better. I drilled some drainage holes in the bottoms, spray painted them (I can’t just put them in my garden exactly the way I got them from the store, can I?), and filled them with dirt.

In my main garden I planted peas and carrots. This will be the fourth year of gardening in the space and it amazes me how many bricks I’m still discovering in the ground. I had a nice pile of them by the end of my work. I also got a lump of coal from the ground today. I guess now it officially qualifies as mining!

Last week, I also had the urge to make something. I didn’t feel like starting something profound like one of my art pieces–just some satisfying cutting and sewing and “making”. Earlier, I’d gone to the new fabric store in town, Let’s Sew, and picked out a few beautiful fabrics, and on Tuesday evening I sat down with a few African fabrics I’d gotten from another amazing fabric store, St. Theresa Textile Trove, and after a little chopping and some quick sewing I had a garden banner. Hooray!

Meanwhile, the crocus flowers are finally fading, but the hellebores are all in full bloom. The magnolia tree is also reaching its peak of beauty. It’s been stunning every year, especially on bright blue sky days.

And the birds are slowly changing as well. The juncos haven’t yet left for the north, but on Friday I saw a rufous-sided toehee in my garden. That means it’s early spring for sure. They’re pretty birds that look like robins but with rich, rusty streaks on each side of their breasts. I could also hear a red-bellied woodpecker that was out and about. Last year one made a nice home in the oak across the alley only to have a pair of starlings steal it away.

The squirrels have been hungry and annoying as they dig in my gardens–even among the garlic! I’ve added several sprinkles of my secret weapon–fox urine granules–to try to keep them away.

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