April 21, 2022
We’re finally seeing actual signs of Spring all of a sudden. And I do mean sudden, because one day there was ugly brown and the next was a total change. The grass and trees are greening, daffodils are blooming, I’m jumping for joy … haha, yeah, for real. I haven’t seen much in the way of tulips or hyacinth for some reason. There doesn’t seem to be as many in folks’ yards this year. I don’t know if there are any at the stores and garden centers since I have no way to get there.
If you’ve been visiting me for any length of time (as in “years”), you know I’ve been gardening all my life. Living in an apartment building the past seven years has put a crimp in being able to have my own garden right outside my door. Fortunately, my kids have allowed me to build their gardens and tend them, which continued to give me my “garden fix.” Amanda has pretty much let hers go by the wayside … she’s just not a gardener and James in his weakened state (from three bouts of cancer over several years) cannot do as much anymore.
John, on the other hand, has turned out to be my surprise family gardener. He and his brother grew up watching me work constantly in the garden. In fact, one year during John’s time in Cub Scouts, I had my den build and tend my garden for a whole season. I made them prepare the area, choose and plant the veggies, weed, water, and watch everything grow. You should have seen those boys’ faces when my friend showed up with his truck bed full of composted horse manure and helped me shovel it over the fence while ten fourth grade boys had to rake and hoe to spread it all over the garden area and then had to work it into the dirt with their hands.
They were forewarned to bring their own gardening gloves. Half of them told their parents they did not need them. Their parents had been instructed by me to then say, “Okay, but you still have to do whatever Miss Diana says to do in the garden.”
John wore his gardening gloves. He’d seen what his mama’d done over the years. And he kept his mouth shut, not telling his friends what they should expect.
I must say, that was probably one of THE BEST producing gardens I have EVER had the pleasure of growing – with help, of course.
John remembers our tomato plants being taller than the eaves of our houses, and in later years, either he or Jerry helping me use reachers to grab the highest growing tomatoes. I am my father’s daughter in that sense; my dad’s normal tomato plant heights had always been in the teens. Nowadays, with all the bush- and hybrid-type, low-growing tomato plants, they don’t get as tall.
This is John’s first Spring in the rental where he and Aero are living. He asked his landlord for permission to grow veggies and, of course, they said sure, go right ahead. There has never been a garden in the backyard, so he’ll be starting from scratch. I already helped him plant blueberry and blackberry bushes a few weeks ago. Last Saturday, we cleared the area needed for the veggies he and Aero want to grow.
Anyway, most of you know that last year Jerry and I opted to get one of the 25′ x 30′ plots over at the Community Gardens that our city provides. This year, we have the same plot, but I also asked for the plot south of it, too, so our garden is now 25′ x 60′. When we used to have our own place, we regulary tended gardens that were 50′ x 100′, so I’m used to having large growing spaces.
On the fifth of April, John dropped me at our garden plot in the afternoon so I could get started. Here’s the obligatory “before” photo.
Same photo with our area outlined in orange/yellow. (Arg, the tremors sure have affected my ability to draw straight lines.)
To give you an idea of the area around the Community Gardens, here are three photos. Across the street on the north is Eastside Cemetery. It’s not very large … just one block long east to west and north to south. Some of Jerry’s Scottish ancestors are buried there; his great-great-great-grandparents, Dougald and Mary (McBride) McArthur and a few of their relatives. One of my best-friends from high school, Lorna, and her son are also buried there, both of them dying very early in their adult lives from Huntington’s disease (as did many others in their family). Lorna is one of a handful of people from my high school years that I truly miss.
Hutchinson Correctional Facility is over to the east; it was originally called the Kansas State Industrial Reformatory (modeled after the nation’s first reformatory in Elmira, New York). I’ve known several folks who were employed there over the years and still do. No, I am not afraid to be working in my garden alone.
I didn’t take a photo of the south or west side because those areas are just the homes of people (it’s a very poor neighborhood, for the most part) and more of the cemetery property (part of which is a huge hill of dirt and sand used for cemetery fill).
The fifth of April, John dropped me at our garden in the afternoon and all I did was spend time planting three 28′ rows of onions, one-third of a 28′ row of “Bloomsdale” spinach and one-third “Salad Sensation” (both were leftover seeds from last year, so didn’t have enough to do full rows), doing a bit of weeding, and just sitting in my lawn chair listening to nature. I couldn’t water because the city doesn’t turn on the water to the gardens until after the last freeze, which for our area is right around April 20-24. So I walked with my 5-gallon blue bucket over to the cemetery spigot by the maintenance shop for a little water (only about a gallon, otherwise it would’ve been too heavy to carry) to just give the spinch seeds a drink.
I happened to be at the garden putting up the pea fence this past Monday when the city went ahead with turning on the water. I got the 28′ row of “Sugar Daddy” peas planted and then scattered “Bachelor Button” and a mix of leftover zinnia, marigold, and other flower seed along the street side of the garden. I watered everything good and then took a leasurely walk through the closest part of the cemetery while waiting for John to get off work and pick me up.
Yesterday, John took me back to the garden, bless his heart; he knew I was really itching to get back out since it was a beautiful 82. I planted the last one-third of the unfinished 28′ row with last year’s “Gourmet Blend” lettuce seed, and haphazardly scattered “Scarlet Nantes” and “Short ‘n Sweet” carrot seed in a foot wide area all the way down a 28’ row by the peas. We’re supposed to have rain tomorrow through Saturday, but not knowing what it will do for sure, I gave everything a good drink. While waiting for John, I talked to a couple other folks who happened to be working in their plots.
So, this is where we are in the garden for the moment. There’s nothing in the buckets yet … they’re just sitting there. Waiting. Like I am.
We’re hoping John has time this weekend where we can all get to the garden center(s) and pick out plants … tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, jalapenos, basil, cucumber. And when we get to May, I have other seeds to plant; watermelon, dill, pumpkin (two types).
And maybe some other things.
Just remember, now that it’s Spring, most of my time will be taken up in our garden for a while.
Amanda just sent me a preview of granddaughter, Madison’s, senior photos! I wish I could show you, but Maddie is a private person. The few I saw are so wonderful! She graduated early back in February. I can hardly believe she will be 18 at the end of May.
Grandson Andrew turned 21 last Friday, April 15. This is me holding him when he was only three hours old in 2001. My first grandbaby/grandson (who had my first great-grandbaby/great-granddaughter at the end of December).
Time goes by way too quickly.
We went without hot water for nearly five days (the heating element went bad) … from late last Friday to late afternoon Tuesday. Of course it happened right when businesses closed for the Easter weekend and then no one was available until Tuesday, because everyone was closed for “Easter Monday” around here. And before you get all outta whack, a lack of hot water is not a life-threatening maintenance problem, so it’s not urgent in nature. Yes, I called Duane (our friend/neighbor/maintenance guy here at the apartment building. He was on vacation until Tuesday, but in turn told Kelley the building manager, who called the plumbing company when the office reopened on Tuesday. Just annoying as all get-out to be without hot water. Yeah, yeah, the pioneers went without “instant” hot water … but that was then, THIS is NOW.
Prayer requests: my son John; our vehicle problem.
Until next time, y’all have a blessed day, a blessed weekend, and if I’m gone longer than that, a blessed next week!