It’s been in the low 30’s most mornings recently with the occasional tumble back into the 20’s. Today there is another deep frost on the ground. Bundled in my winter coat and mittens, I’ve planted many of the vegetables in the garden. The peas went in two weeks ago. Above is a photo of their little sprouts poking up through the ground in that determined but sassy pea way. There are baby radish and kale in amongst other greens that haven’t yet germinated. The carrots are taking their time as carrots do. I water their bed each day because carrots like to be kept wet until they germinate. Maybe today I will begin to see their long whispy first leaves. Yesterday I planted onions, arugula and spinach and prepared one of many rows for potatoes. This afternoon I got my four year old grandson, Henry, to help me plant some of the potatoes. I would love to have him join me in the gardens on a regular basis and Henry is interested. Pushing a nice fat seed potato through a mound of fluffy compost was a fun task for a four year old and of course, we will celebrate any potatoes harvested as HENRY’S POTATOES.
In the hoop house and on the counters going into the main office every square inch is covered with flats of baby Flowers and tender vegetable starts like cucumbers. Their time for transplant into the garden will come, BUT NOT YET. We have another month before we can safely put out plants that would be killed by a frost
Out in the gardens, kestrel birds put on a show of aeronautic tricks, sailing and swooping from the lone plum tree in the middle of the hayfield. Birdsong fills the air. Most mornings, a cardinal bird sits atop the larch tree with an occasional flight to the nearby gingko. He is the primary soloist with chickadees, and robins the bulk of the chorus.
The Arbor Garden is in blossom with Siberian Squill, Chionadoxa, Hellebores, Cowslips and the first of the Daffodils. Funny bell jars cover a number of plants with their own mini-greenhouses. I purchased some hard to find perennials from a place in California called Annies, and they need the protection of these domes until our world warms up to the one they came from.
I always work to build up the soil here with mulch and with compost. I put compost on various beds and dig it into the vegetable garden. The older I get the more interested I am in soil. Good soils is why we have any nutritional value in our food or glory in our Flowers. I screen load after load of compost to remove rocks and sticks that didn’t break down during the composting process. I never understand how there can be so many rocks in the compost when the compost is created primarily from dead plants removed from the garden after the harvest. During these early spring weeks I cart these wheelbarrow loads of rich dark soil down to the vegetable garden. As I pass the Roses, I promise them that they are next.
The gardens are organic so no petroleum based fertilizer from Russia. But Russia is part of our gardens as the Arbor Garden is a sea of Siberian Squill, the blue Flower below, and so many of the seeds I grow originally came from Russia. I think so often of all the regular people in countries at war who wish for peace and keep planting their gardens.
I also think a lot about people who might love to garden but don’t live with the space I have here. A friend told me that last summer she grew potatoes in something called a grow bag. Grow bags sounds sort of ugly, but they are attractive and easy to use. When the potato leaves died back she just emptied the bag and pulled out all the potatoes. She got a bumper crop. This comforted me that the joy of growing one’s own food is still possible for anyone with even a small outdoor space. Growing Flowers and vegetables gives me such happiness that I want everyone to have this option, though I am aware not everyone shares my interest in this or even any interest in this!
I recently read that during WW2 45% of all the food people ate in America was grown in backyard victory gardens. This emphasis on vegetable gardens was alive and well in my childhood in the 1960’s. My best friend’s family was Polish. Besides their wonderful sauna in their backyard, there was also a spectacular vegetable garden. When I stayed for supper, Lynn’s mother would send us down to the basement to raid their amazingly organized freezer full of produce. Hanging on a hook by the freezer was a book in which each vegetable packet was accounted. We thought ourselves very grown up to cross off the vegetable packet when we removed it for dinner. Theirs was the most delicious Polish food. I am grateful to them and so many other gardeners who taught me how to care for a garden, grow beautiful, healthy plants and cook them to make fabulous meals.
As we face the end of petroleum based fertilizers and potash shortages, we have the option to solve our problems now by making our own compost, raising our own vegetables or purchasing food from farms practicing regenerative farm techniques. More and more I hear of people in food deserts growing food, sometimes on the top of industrial buildings. By necessity we have to turn away from the massively destructive ways we have farmed in the last century and go back to our roots. I love that the seed companies selling non GMO seeds are doing so well,. I hope more and more of us will seize the day and begin to garden in harmony with earth. The Angels and Elementals of the Nature Kingdom will support all of us in any way they can if we ask for their help.
This is not just a hollow promise the Angels and Elementals give. One of my favorite stories from the years I ran classes to help people garden in conscious partnership with the Angels and Elementals was the following. One very skeptical woman arrived for the first class. Given her high degree of doubt, I do not know why she was there, but I am so grateful she was. Right off the bat she told the group that she didn’t believe in these beings I was talking about. She noted that they would have to prove to her they existed.
How I loved her honesty and her clear request. I knew that there was nothing the Elementals liked more than a challenge like this. So I asked her to consider what she wanted for her garden and to ask the Elementals, the manifestors of all form, to send it. Speaking with passion, she threw down the gauntlet. She told all of us gathered that she wanted a free garden- free seeds, free plants and free soil amendments.
At the next week’s class, she blew into our midst absolutely aglow. What a wild week she’s had. First a woman she hardly knew gave her a large and diverse collection of vegetable and flower seeds. Next another woman gave her an entire perennial garden that she no longer wanted. There was work involved in the moving of plants, but it was a very fine garden now all settled in on her property. In the midst of this a passing farmer with a dump truck filled with well composted manure offered to dump it wherever she wanted for FREE. The manure had gone into the new vegetable garden as well as the new perennial beds.
Wow! Was this ever a wonderful example of the Elementals’ ability to manifest anything and in a humorous and over the top way at that!
That week transformed this woman’s life. She became a wonderful gardener, ever intent on co-creating with the Angels and Elementals. She often created a labyrinth in Corn that she generously shared with anyone who wanted to walk a labyrinth. As an oil painter, her focus turned to the creation of many paintings of Angels and Elementals. She spent the rest of her life serving others as an Earth Angel of generosity.
So ask for what you need and let me know what happens! Don’t let limitations curtail you! I’ve seen the most beautiful tiny gardens, even apartment fire escape planters, co-created into such gems of beauty. I will be rooting for you, quite unnecessarily of course, because you and the Angels and Elementals have this. I also can’t wait to hear your stories!