Something in the air

There is an anxious nervousness that is consuming me these days – Spring!

Forget the homework, the daily domestic drudge, personal grooming and healthcare and let’s not forget about pet care, I don’t want to do any of it. I want to play in the dirt and inventory my seeds. Yes, my sixth generation heirloom seeds. Since I have had the extra time I decided to garden again. First it was in containers, then I planted in ground. I had to fight with squirrels for about three years, so I moved what was left of my plants into containers again and fenced the whole thing with small gage chicken wire. The zucchini did not like the narrow space. I did not like the squirrels. I lost.

We moved last year and now have plenty of garden space, I was ecstatic. We dug up dirt, built boxes, and I went nuts last March using every window in the house to start seedlings. I scoured every anti-squirrel blog there was, and found a new humane way to keep away those wasteful rodents; Irish Spring soap. Have you ever watched one of those varmints take a bite of something and throw it to the ground? Apples are their favorite to waste, they pick them with their tiny hands, take a bite and throw them. I nailed bars of soap to the posts of my fence. It worked for a while and they ate the soap daily. I thought oh no, I am poisoning these squirrels. Don’t worry PETA, these squirrels have lived to raise more rodents, I watched them all summer. These pesky wasteful creatures stayed out of my garden until September, harvest time. These creatures are not so dumb. I believe they watch every move I make from up above. They plan their attacks, they can dig up the beautiful bulbs now or next season; the choice is theirs. My idea for this year is to put netting above my entire garden. I will try new soap bars, and then ask my neighbors if they would mind if I put up the netting. My ideal plan would be pigeon spikes, but I am not that mean. It will be interesting to see what happens this year.

Time for me to plan my planting. My husband bought me a $70 dollar portable greenhouse from Big Lots last spring. What a great investment, no more cluttered windows this spring. I am putting this greenhouse on my deck this weekend. I am going to clip a light on top for cloudy days and a heater below for cold nights. It worked last spring, I am confident this will work again. I recommend cinder blocks in each corner, so the wind does not carry away your hard work.

My dear readers, I have a few gardening tips for the avid amateur gardener.

First, try to start your veggies from seed, it will save you some money.

Second, if you like to garden organic, (like me,) get your seeds from the vegetables you buy from Whole Foods or your other trusted organic grocer. There is no reason to buy seeds from a package, if you don’t want to. I buy lettuce seeds, because I never let the lettuce go to seed, we eat it. This really works! This year I am going to try fingerling potatoes in a container and see what happens. Last year I tried the tiny sweet peppers you find in a bag, this year they will be my second generation seeds.

Third, if you want to start your own seeds, I recommend you start somewhat small with one of those portable greenhouses, you can even find them online to fit the space that suits your needs. Great, great investment for home grown produce. I am contemplating purchasing a smaller one for just flowers, we’ll see.

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