Seed Swaps

The goddess returns

02 Apr 2010
Cloudy 24°C / 76°F

Having been extremely kind to the Midwest all year, the goddess continues her gentle journey into the spring with a string of 80F/26C days. Lowe’s had rows and rows of tomato plants out. Why do they do that? All these poor new gardeners are going to in there, buy tomatoes, and they are going to die because it will get back down into the 50s and 60s again. The forsythia along the fence line bloomed for the first time ever. 24 years, nothing. This year, spectacular. Who knows why.

Good news and bad news in the garden. The goddess’ consort, in the form of a large robin again, watched me work, mostly brute labor building beds, setting paths and amending soil. I gave the goddess a pincushion plant for an offering this year, and planted out some of my seedlings that were going to die anyway. With mid-60s and warmer predicted for the next 10 days, and nighttimes in the mid 50s, they can’t do any worse than they’re doing under the grow lights. Parsnips nearly a dead loss, ditto the Alissa Craig onions. The brussels are down to 7 1" plants. I blame it in the peat and manure pots. I just couldn’t keep them moist enough. I’d water and go back and hour later and they’d be dry as dust. Those things aren’t pots, they’re dessicants.

On the other hand, I have lots of things growing from last year’s dormant seeds— spinach, turnips, onions, plus the lovage came back (but not, so far, any parsley this year). Replanted the onions in the new garage bed, but the turnips that were back there I harvested (6 baby-fist sized roots, plus a nice handful of greens, which my body is really craving). However, there are a couple dozen turnips in the woodland and serpentine plots.

So, building. Edged the garage plot with concrete blocks. Eventually I’ll build this up three high, I think (maybe), but for now it’s just working as edging, with the holes for additional planting space. Put all three planting boxes under the garage eves. Can’t get the bottoms off two of them, so I’ll put greens in those instead of onions. I think they’re not going to get enough sun for onions there anyway.

The wind blew down the neighbor’s fence, twice (he tried to tie it back up with string), so Bill and I went out yesterday and just took the damned thing down before it blows into the house and breaks a window. Very strange being able to see into the neighbor’s yard at ground level. Makes me wish we could just do a giant community backyard that stretched the whole block, instead of fencing each other off at 33 foot intervals (the width of typical Rogers Park Chicago plot.)




I love the wood and the Goddess’s face with the plant. That is beautiful. I have a Goddess face in cast iron I need to find a place for. I may honor your beauty with a mimic of my own. I get such warm happy feelings reading your journals.

Posted on 03 Apr 10 (over 9 years ago)

She’s lovely, and befitting in your sweet garden. Sounds like a beautiful day. Maybe you could approach your neighbor with a shared backyard idea? Or is he too much of a dufus with his ball of string and lack of fence building skills?

Posted on 03 Apr 10 (over 9 years ago)

Some communities are actually doing this with backyards and alleyways, Xan! Check out the work of "Ashoka ": (also summarized in this Wikipedia article on Community Greens

The application of it that I like best (from reading about it, anyway) is turning alleyways into a private gated communal space shared by the residents of a block, where kids can play, families can have larger garden plots or shared orchards, and ugly fences and utilities are replaced by more neighborly alternatives.

Posted on 03 Apr 10 (over 9 years ago)

This is the guy who murdered the garden , so something tells me he wouldn’t go for it. I did actually broach this idea several years ago when we had 6 serious gardeners right in a row, but people looked at me like I had two heads. We all like our separate spaces, I guess.

Posted on 03 Apr 10 (over 9 years ago)

I think the idea is much more appealing in blocks where the individual yards are pocket-sized. I lived for a year growing up in a duplex in military housing in Japan that had a big common green area with grass and trees in the middle of the housing. All the kids played there and it was wonderful. Like a semi-private park, or a huge shared backyard.

Posted on 03 Apr 10 (over 9 years ago)

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