Sunday, June 1, 2008

Getting the Garden In

Yup. There's something about putting in a big garden that eats up all your time and beats up all your body parts. Or at least, that's what happens to me this time of year. Our growing season up here near the tundra (not quite, but sometimes it feels close) is so short that it seems everything needs to be done at once.

When we lived in Illinois (farm country, you know, where you could actually grow things like sweet corn and tomatoes without the use of greenhouses and cold frames), you could spread your planting out a bit. Get in the early crops like peas, onions, lettuce, beets, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots and then rest a bit before planting the veggies that like the really warm weather such as tomatoes, beans, corn, cucs, melons and so forth. Up here our growing season is smooshed into such a short period that by the time the frost leaves the ground and the cooler weather seeds and plants are safe from contracting chilblains, it's also time to get in the rest of the crops so they have time to mature. Typically, our spring is non-existent; we seem to go from "gosh, it's still danged cold out" to "time to put away the turtlenecks and find the tank tops . . . and be quick about it, I'm sweltering!" A high of 40 degrees one day, then the next day it's in the 70s and above for the rest of the summer.

Then, too, there's the dance I do every year to get as much as possible done outside before the dreaded bugs arrive. This year we've had an exceptionally cool spring (cool non-spring?) and because of the lack of any warm days (ah, but wait, I think I remember one a couple of weeks ago), the bugs here in our location close to Lake Superior have yet to make an appearance. Shhhh, this is not a complaint. But it does make me push my body each bug-less day to get all I can done outside because I know my tolerance for working in the garden while being chewed on by black flies, or mosquitoes, or no-see-ums is nil. My dad was terribly allergic to insect bites and although I'm not as affected as he was, one bite swells my skin like a helium balloon while itching for weeks and so I simply cannot function while various small, flying beasties are feasting on my blood.

Complaints, complaints. Waaaah, what a cry-baby. I'm just tired and achy and dirty tonight. I love gardening; you'd hear a lot more moaning and groaning if I had to give it up. And, hey, let it be a challenge. Once the garden is in, I find it easy to keep it weed-free and enjoy immensely the visual beauty of all the growing and producing plants and harvest of nutritious foods I look forward to. As far as this never-enough-hours-in-the-day period, well, what could be better for me than to spend days out in the beautiful, fresh air, bending and stretching and exercising so many muscles in my body? It's all worth it many times over.

1 comment:

Marty & Debi said...

We love and look forward to your blogs - please keep them coming!
Love, Debi & Marty