Putting in the Garden

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

Well, it’s Victoria Day weekend here in Canada and that means many things. For those of us hoping to have fresh produce on our tables later in the summer it means that it’s time to put in the garden!

In *theory* and by general rule of thumb, the “risk of last frost” is the Victoria Day weekend.

So I’m about to make the trek down to Lodi (where they of course don’t celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday. Will someone remind me why we still do that in Canada?) for our first really big gardening weekend of the season.

We will have our work cut out for us.

We’ll need to fence up the new garden plots if we want our produce to be anything other than a woodchuck buffet.

We’ll need to head up to the Amish markets to buy our healthy little plants and then do the stoop labour of planting them in their tidy little rows.

This year we have some handy-dandy plant stakes that I will painstakingly and lovingly craft and apply in the appropriate areas.

I also have the feeling that there will be some prodigious weeding to do.

Things I will endeavour to do:
-wear sunscreen and a sun hat at all times
-not lose my gardening gloves 1.5 hours into the experience
-look better in the gardening process photos
-not get into monumental arguments about what we plant and where we plant it
-not be too hard on ourselves if we can’t get *everything* done this weekend

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Absentee Gardening

Gardeners at work

Gardeners at work

I hesitate to call myself a gardener. I think I need some more triumphs under my belt before I will accept that grand moniker.

Especially considering my recent rookie mistake: I was so excited to assemble my balcony planters that I put them together (looking adorable full of double impatiens in a warm, regal red, trailing ivy, bright orange gazania and deep burgundy coleus I might add) and promptly left them outside overnight during the only frost warning of the last 2 months.

I had some logical explanation for this. Believe it or not I did think it through. I just made the wrong decision and I fear my coleus may not recover.

In that I’m not fully ready to claim to be a gardener it’s at least safe to call myself an absentee gardener of some description. Most of the large-scale gardening work I do takes place at a farm house in a rural setting that I visit frequently but don’t live.

The rest of the time I live in the city and eke out a garden via containers on my balcony and indoor house plants vying for the relatively small amount of sun I get each day. Currently my apartment also doubles as a potting shed and greenhouse (to varying degrees of success).

So it’s kind of an odd patchwork garden kind of scenario. The last time we were in Lodi we planted some bigtime stuff: 2 different varieties of potato, two different varieties of onion, in addition to the rhubarb, garlic and various assorted herbs we’d planted in the fall. But I won’t see their progress first-hand for another two weeks.

Mum and Dad are ensconced in Lodi for the season and when I talked to them yesterday they gave me the exciting news that the garlic is really growing. I am thrilled and yet have no idea what that means–I’m only relying on a description and the promise of a photo. How high are the shoots? Are they flowering? How far are we from harvesting?! How can I learn how to make a garlic braid in time!? (ok… getting a bit carried away there)

I guess that really I have the best of all possible worlds: I get the bustle of the city and the triumph of greenery growing around so much concrete, traffic and exhaust fumes as well as the serenity of the rural garden with the expanding horizon of farmers fields and nature blooming all around.

Each has their benefits and each their detractions, but really when it comes right down to it I’m awfully lucky to have both!

Getting Ready for the Season

Sitting on the dock

Sitting on the dock

Spring has definitely arrived and you know that means only one thing: summer is right around the corner. Lazy afternoons reading on the porch, thunderstorms rolling across the lake, corn on the cob, floating endlessly in the lake are all right around the corner.

But we’re not there quite yet and there’s work to do until we can enjoy the spoils of summer. Now is definitely the time to put in the hard work so that we can rest easy for the summer months.

Mum and Dad are heading down for the season shortly and will be living large in Lodi for the next six months or so. So when I say “we” in the above paragraph the majority of the work will be done by Mum and Dad until the next long weekend when us kids will be down to help out.

In the meantime though the first cottage rental coming up in a few weeks and so “we” have got to get the cottage opened up, aired out and spiffed up a bit. We’ll find out in the next week or so if there are any major repairs needed but usually all that’s required is some serious cleaning and the occasional spot of fresh paint.

So it’s time to start dreaming about what the summer will bring! New wineries to visit! New restaurants to try! New puzzles to master! New recipes for fresh tomatoes to try! New sunburns to nurse! New marshmallows to incinerate! New friends to introduce to the joys of life in Lodi!

Want to come and visit? Let me know when you’ll be arriving! Oh, and can you pick up a 12-pack of Yuengling and rolls from the Ovid Big M on your way?