Tomatoes, Corn, Beans And Zucchini

Tomatoes, corn, beans and zucchini. I need to think about these garden favorites every day now that the winter dismals have set in. Remembering how they looked, where they grew, picking them, weeding, mulching and watering them makes me less solemn. Sunlight and warm temperatures are in short supply this time of year and are sorely missed. When the ground is soggy the fun of gardening goes right out the door. My spring six pack garden will soon lighten my mood as I move them in and out every day. I’m already thinking ahead to where they will go with crop rotation in mind. I’ve had some weird inexplicable occurrences lately and suspect my inattention to this simple garden tome could be the culprit.

I went down to the garden last night to cover up the faucet in anticipation of another freeze. The garden’s pristine tranquility in the moonlight gave me pause. All the grass and hay mulch seemed to glow in the dark, lighting up the expanse and making me realize how large the garden is. The light colored hay, surrounding all the dark composted areas, made a mosaic of patches like a quilt. It looked really well maintained and inviting. Light colored mulch is more pleasing to the eye in winter when the sky’s are gray and shadows are more numerous. It brightens the terrain. It is a bit too bright in the summer sometimes because the glare can make you squint. Leaves, on the other hand, absorb light and make a summer garden look cooler and more inviting. I will always save some leaves for summer mulch, and tuck the straw into the plants shade as they extend their foliage.

For many years I had a thermostatically controlled, oil filled electric heater in the greenhouse. It was great fun in the winter. You end up trying new things, and spend an inordinate amount of time just puttering. I tried starting tomatoes in January. Do you have any idea how many things can go wrong with this? I didn’t either. Suffice it to say I only tried it three or four years, and put in way more effort than they were worth. Buying two foot tall bushy plants from your local garden center with buds, and sometimes even a tomato on them, gets you the earliest tomatoes and healthiest plants. The greenhouse had me starting many trays, plants and cuttings and was well worth it in spite of the failures. One year my sons brought home a big Jade plant with the intention of making lots of little Jade plants. It seems like every piece they put into little containers of shavings survived. There must have been 50 of ’em, and a heated greenhouse was part of the reason I was still watering them two years later 🙂

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