27. February 2012 · Comments Off on Spring in the Garden · Categories: Domestic, Local, Veteran's Affairs

It’s nowhere near official, but it is pretty clear – Spring has Sprung, and it’s only the edge of February. By the books, the last freeze in this part of Texas is mid-March, but this year, we have already had one over-ninety degree day already. Well, it was only one day, and it was the tippy-topmost high for that day and I think that the high only held for about an hour and a half … but it still necessitated running the AC for half a day. Hold that thought in your mind for a moment. Air Conditioning. In late February. Fortunately, the next day, a cooler front blew in, and since then, the weather has been more or less back to something more or less resembling normal late-winter weather. Which is to say, highs in the seventies or so, lows in the fifties, with a ten degree deviation either way, enlivened by the occasional rainstorm; quite pleasant, as winters go, especially when the northern hemisphere is suffering under two or three feet of snow, and roads covered with black ice.

Anyway; because the weather has been so mild, we’ve been able to get started on spring planting. This year, it looked like early vegetable starts were everywhere, especially lettuce, mache, corn salad, mizuna – and early tomatoes. We had a couple of earth-boxes, lots of pots, and some topsy-turvy planters, so we bought some enormous bags of potting soil … and several trays of plants, and set about reviving my garden.
Among the empty pots was one of those strawberry planters, with the little pockets on the sides – which never quite work as advertised, as the soil leaks out before the plants grow roots enough to keep it all in place. This time, my daughter cut circles of thin coir with a slit in the middle to accommodate the plants – and not strawberries, but eight different varieties of mint. Mint is tough, invasive and grows like a weed, so what better way to keep it confined. Peppers and tomatoes went into the earth boxes and into the topsy-turvys, and the lettuces and greens went into ordinary pots, and everything looked very, very well … but that’s not all.
Last Thursday, we went out walking with the dogs, and saw that one of our neighbors was having their trees pruned back – in some cases, the limbs being pruned were pretty substantial. They were all piled up, waiting to be sent through the chipper – and so I asked the crew supervisor if they could drop off some of the mulch in our driveway once they were done working. He was agreeable, but warned – the mulch coming off the truck would mount up to at least two or three cubic yards. I said, cheerfully, that we could use every bit of it … and so we did.

That afternoon, they dropped off what amounted to a Matterhorn of mulch; good stuff, with hardly any twigs and green leaves in it. My daughter and I spent two mornings, scooping it into the wheelbarrow and trundling it hither and yon. We did have a dispute: I wanted it to go to the back garden first, as that is the part of it that we look at the most, but my daughter said that the front is what everybody else sees, and we didn’t want to be ‘those people’, did we? The neighbors whose house looks like it was just declared a disaster area? Well, no … We could have maybe used another cubic yard or two, but my daughter said flatly that her back couldn’t have stood another barrow-load. But the yard does look lovely now – and once again, something that I am proud to have people see.

Comments closed.