I am writing in the pre-dawn darkness again this day, and listening to the surprise warm rain falling outside.
I love the new cooler weather, and the falling leaves. I look forward to the first big storm, wood fires, apple cider, fog and frost, the “need” to make soup and stew and bread and pumpkin pie. In general it is an upward fluctuation of the cozy factor –something we track at my house.
I like opening the old cedar-chest and bringing out the wool sweaters.
Will there be snow this year? I would love to make a snow lantern like I read about on Søren’s blog. (How could I be this old and not know of snow lanterns?)
Once I wished for snow with a chicken wishbone. We had a kind of blizzard that year — my grown children still call it “the chicken-bone snow.” Might try that again…
Some warm rain this morning, but the recent heat turned our clay soil to concrete. Most every spring I have amended the soils in all the beds, and clearly more of that is required. The house painting is finally completed for this year, but I was still pretty busy with it when the hot weather came. Only a few annuals actually died, but now flowers are few and far between.
I’ve started my Fall Plant Move, to correct for too-hot, too-shady, too-crowded.
In positioning plants I consider light and water, and I avoid rigid symmetry, but I am pretty hopeless in actually planning a garden design in an overall way. I tend to look at the beds and try to choose the best neighborhood for the plant(s) in hand.
Those drawn-to-scale sketches with little circles for trees don’t seem to have anything to do with me or my garden, even when I am the one drawing them. And how could I ever organize, on paper, blooming times and heights, when I can scarcely make a successful grocery list?
And there’s another thing. I can’t find the quote, but somewhere in William Robinson’s classic book, The English Flower Garden, Mr. Robinson suggests that if you just add to your garden those plants which you like instead of the plants which the design and location require, well then you are a plant collector instead of a gardener. Or something like that. (It weighs heavily upon me.)
I’m afraid the truth is that, like Popeye, I am what I am. (Note: They say Popeye saved the spinach industry in the 1930′s.)
OK my gardener therapy session is over now.
In other news, yesterday I emptied out one of the composters and used the best part of the contents to create two huge bins of potting soil for the greenhouse.
I went through the compost, one shovel-full at a time, pulled out sticks and broke it up nicely. I put it in the lidded bins ($3.99 at Goodwill) and stirred in some peat moss, a bit of sawdust, organic fertilizer, and a little vermiculite. It probably has a few weed seeds, but I like the light weight of it better than the commercial soils I’ve bought in the past, and it fits my budget in that I had all the ingredients lying around.
In the greenhouse I’ve started a cucumber called Rocky hybrid. It’s recommended as a greenhouse plant and it grew like crazy in there last fall. It climbs along whatever skinny support you provide and produces the cutest little (4 inch long) flavorful cucumbers for weeks.
Speaking of growing food, here’s something I found.
It’s a remarkable garden blog called The Urban Farming Guys, all about creating a farm on vacant properties in the worst urban part of Kansas City, Missouri. An online search for “urban farming” will show how this concept is spreading. (See a collection of breathtaking photographs here of magnificent abandoned structures in Detroit.)
In all our cities vacancy rates are high. Re-use of the land and buildings for growing local urban food, making green reappear among the ruins, all to the benefit of the local people– how completely terrific is that?