Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Garden to Bed

4 new beds make a total of 12, and the dock for my pump out of the water

The newly landscaped garden includes a long
plowed bed  for potatoes, beans and onions.
I am officially a garden addict, something I never thought would happen to me. On Saturday afternoon while Steve bought some useful stuff at Menards for building his furniture shop, I found myself wandering the aisles of the empty garden center and bought three bags of cedar mulch. I ran into a friend who was buying Christmas lights, which in that moment seemed more rational (though much too early!). In my defense, I was going to put the mulch over the newly transplanted perennials, but when I gave it further consideration, it does seem obvious that leaf mulch is about as heavy as I should apply this late in the fall. All those wood chips will only make it more difficult to plant things in spring if I spread it now.

Just like this time last year, I'm really ready to begin again, to the point where I'm thinking-- If only I lived in a warmer climate, like Southern California. Yeah, if only I had a few acres in Southern California, I could just plant more seeds now! Then I realize that I have what I have because it is where it is, and that I'm glad about that.

garlic bed covered in grass
I spent my "extra hour" from falling back to daylight savings time on Sunday out in the garden, turning over the last of the weeds, cutting back the asparagus and trying to get the weeds out from around their stalks, and heaping on the last of the cut grass over them. I also heaped more grass onto the garlic beds, where the late freeze has meant the bulbs are sending up shoots through the 4-5 inches I already put down. "Go to bed!" I feel like yelling at them. "You aren't supposed to come up until April!" It's good for them to get going a little bit, so they can develop a root system under the snow during the winter. Or so I understand from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which is still my favorite bedtime reading.

I can't wait to receive my first "yearbook" as a member of Seed Savers. This is the master book for ordering from individual farmers who save heirloom seeds. I am very happy with the Seed Savers stock I bought, as well as the seeds I bought locally at Woods Farm and Nursery, but I can't help but want to buy a few seeds from the big book o' seeds! Mostly, I just need more reading material.

All this reminds me of the movie Into the Great Silence about a Cistercian community in France. One ancient monk walks around in the middle of winter looking at his raised beds covered with snow, then stands in a shed looking through seed packets. He seems quite out of his mind. The poignancy, of course, is wondering if he will live to see another planting season, and the nonverbal way he demonstrates he is thinking about spring, new life, there in the winter. But for me, that's where I turned off the movie. I was starting to doze already, but the crazy old seed monk just seemed like kind of an indictment of a life of total silence, although that's not what was meant at all. I found myself wondering, "Is anyone watching out for this old guy?"

So I will have to find other things to occupy my mind. The forecast is for snow tonight in some areas of the state, although not here until maybe the 18th. But once we hit Thanksgiving, there's no turning back. And certainly the beds are done until after the snows. Then again, maybe tomorrow I'll drive out for a few more bags of mushroom compost and dig them into the beds...

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