Garden beginnings


We left it till late, but today, Devil’s Night, we put in some winter veg.

The round corral was filled with sand, unknown years ago, and had grown over with moss and grass and an astonishing crop of bright-orange toadstools. If they grow there, I reasoned, so would sand-loving vegetables. And though it’s late in the year to be putting in vegetables, even here in the mild Pacific Northwest, a person has to dream.

White radishes, red radishes, kale, corn salad, mesclun, lettuce, spring onions, sugar snap peas, and garlic.

The old compost pile contains about fifteen yards of well-rotted donkey and goat manure, a legacy of our settlement’s previous occupants. If the sand doesn’t make these veg grow on its own, we will amend it with some of that. But for now we’ll wait, and see.

I have been tackling my flower bed, too. My husband rototilled it a month ago, and I’ve been letting the sod rot a bit. Now, with November incumbent–a month in which the ground frozen entirely, where I used to live–I have panicked and begun to plant the hundreds of bulbs I bought in September. Daffodils. Tulips. Grape hyacinth. Plain hyacinth–these the choice of my daughter, though I don’t care for them. I have also divided and transplanted some venerable old lupins that have done me the favor of blooming purple, here in the fall, so I know I’m not going to the trouble for red or yellow.

And transferring some barrows of that rotted manure, too. Good God, it’s hard work. Shoveling compost. Pickaxing the ground. The soil is ridiculous by the way, blacker than the midwest and sandy to boot, so it doesn’t stick in sullen damp balls like the Illinois clay we came from. Amazing. Full of fat nightcrawlers. The best.

But oh, I am out of shape. And oh, I am sore. And oh, it is doing me good.


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