It is time to start planting the spring garden in the
South. If you want to start an asparagus
patch, a strawberry patch, plant grapes or blueberries, or plant potatoes, the
roots or plants are available now at garden centers. Enjoy the beautiful spring-like weather we
have been having and begin your garden.
I ordered grapevines from Ison’s Nursery, and I bought two
more grapevines at the garden enter, and I’ve been working at digging holes 2 ½
feet deep into red clay to hold the posts that will support the vines. It is
slow work, and the rains during the month of February have slowed my work. The rain filled the holes, which are at the
bottom of a slope, with a foot or more of water, and although I thought the
water already in the holes would make the process of mixing concrete easier
(just sprinkle in some concrete mix around the posts and stir), my husband said
that was not a good method of mixing concrete.
He said I could slosh the muddy water out of the holes and
could pour the mixed concrete in, but I decided that sounded too messy even for
me, and I decided to wait for a drier
day to put in the posts. I am not convinced that posts for grapevines
even need to be sunk in concrete, especially when they are 2 ½ feet in the
ground, but Scott, who overbuilds everything, especially the unused guinea
house that will outlast us both, says it’s imperative. He has a contractor’s license and sometimes
has difficulty separating the structural integrity needed for house building
from the structural integrity necessary for garden construction. I do appreciate his help, though, and I know
that whatever he helps build will not collapse.
Saturday I decided I was tired of waiting for the water to
drain out of the holes, so we used a hand pump that we had to pump water out of
our kayak to empty the holes. We still
couldn’t remove the water at the bottom of the holes, but we got most of it out
and used minimal water to mix the concrete to make up the difference. Now I have to wait for the grapevines, which look like dead sticks, to put out new growth, and I will have to string wire to support the vines.
|The posts are finally in the ground, and I planted the grapevines. Digging the holes into clay was quite a workout!|
I am thankful for all the rain after the past few years of
drought. My girls enjoyed wearing their
rain boots and coats and walking in the woods by the creek, which was full of
rushing water for the first time they can really remember. I am glad my youngest daughter is old enough
to walk in the woods now. They loved
with the culvert under our
Although I didn’t think I had room, I added six more dahlias
to my perennial border. I have some
beautiful red ones from my grandmother’s garden, and they bloom continuously
for a couple of months or more, dying back when the frost comes, nearly
unmolested by critters, and I knew I wanted to add more dahlias this
spring. The garden center I visited had
the tuberous roots of dahlias, peonies, clematis, hydrangea, liatris, bleeding
hearts, and many other beautiful perennials.
Later in the spring, they’ll sell plants in bloom that will cost many
times more, so buy them now.
|Here's a poorly lighted picture of white dahlias growing in Abigail Adams' garden in Quincy, MA in late October. They were much prettier in person than this picture shows, and they inspired me to plant more of the beautiful, long-lasting flowers at my house.|
Even though I have ordered, and will order, seeds, I
couldn’t resist buying a few packets of seeds, and rushed home to plant English
peas in the garden before more rain comes.
My girls, and I, eat fresh English peas from the garden with nearly as
much enthusiasm as we do candy; fresh peas are sweet and crisp, completely
unlike the starchy, mushy peas from the grocery store’s freezer or cans.
If you’re ready to begin your garden, it’s time to get
perennials and root crops, and to put them in the ground. Unlike many plants, which garden centers
sell for months, these will be available only for the next month or so in good
condition. The plants need time to
adjust to their new home in the ground in cool weather, and it is so much more
pleasant to work in the garden when the temperature is in the 60s instead of