Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17

Seeding in the shade. What? Basil. A flat of basil. And flowers. Because these are things I don't know how to grow and that's why they are interesting to me. And because of the ongoing mystery of how to use the greenhouse (step 1: get shade cloth). And because of what we are planning to do to the garage, which necessitates almost total destruction of at least one and maybe all of the garden beds and a totally new plan for the center of the yard. Which still feels up in the air. Risky, essential, confusing. So: flowers. And basil.

Peas, shallots, potatoes, kale, arugula.

Big beautiful child.

A rainy day bouquet.


A garden makes food. It provides solitude and solace. It connects us to the seasons, the rhythms, the beauty - of the world we belong to, rather than the world which we believe belongs to us. Also, it is a place to gather. Easter (which I prefer to celebrate as close to the Spring Equinox as possible) has been a thing in this garden ever since we stopped having big community gatherings for Zelda's birthday - maybe five years now? We have done it in the pouring rain in rain suits, and in our frilliest pastels. And each year I am delighted to see the kids get their faces right down in the wood violets, or under the tangle of bolted arugula as they hunt for their sugar fix. Spring really does feel like a million little miracles, and as we hide and they search, we find ones we hadn't known were there.

But this year, somehow, the garden seemed too small for all our people. The big kids are getting big, and the parties keep getting bigger. The Jesus version of Easter was a full month later than the Equinox, and I'm still feeling sensitive from the fuss that went down at Christmas when I said I liked celebrating the Solstice better. So I just didn't do anything about easter. And then it was the Saturday before the resurrection and I ended up with all five of my girls, and so we went to Fred Meyer and bought a Paas kit and some easter corn (green, pink, and baby blue candy corn. yes.). It was a bare bones event, but they were pleased. They wanted me to know that it mattered, I could feel it. I made them help me stuff the plastic eggs before I hid them, and they got the idea to put flowers and rocks and grass into some of them. April-fool-eggs. And then they hunted and we lolled about on the deck as they deeply indulged in corn syrup and did gross things with the melting candy.

We live in very weird times. I'm not sure how to show them what matters, or if what matters to me will continue to matter at all on this changing planet. But home does matter, and plants always matter. So, I guess, back to the garden.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Plant the peas when the crocus bloom. After the crocus bloom. See the daffodils - the first ones - in the background there? Tie the first string first, and seed underneath. Ideally after a mycorrhizal soak. Which they didn't get this year. I ran out of powder. But after the reading I've been doing, I'm buying more for sure. Never running out again. Gonna need a special fridge compartment for film and fungus powder.

Speaking of our most valued citizens. HELLO MOSS FAIRIES. (or lichen fairies? or hornworts or liverworts -- Patrick, we need to talk, but these are releasing spores either way, right?)

March is long and sometimes looks like February, but with longer arugula to match the longer days. 

Again, long month. From here (May) this looks like the saddest thing. But back then I can distinctly remember thinking that I never expected to see anything so hopeful in this garden ever again.

Re: daffodils and sunglasses and coffee. This was March 16th. 

Freak March day of t shirts and ice cream. Really I am so glad this didn't last.

First little guy. This patch is (clearly) overgrown with the stuff I let grow there to displace the grass I am always trying to kill. I dunno. This was literally the first thing we planted in this yard and it has been great - just eating raw, freshly cut asparagus is a #peaklifeexperience - but I wouldn't say that I understand what the asparagus wants. Or maybe I am not willing to give it what it wants. I might let the experts grow it after this. But whoa, eating ferns is rad. And it makes that amazing instant pee smell? I mean, asparagusic acid!? They made that up. Do fiddleheads make your pee smell? I am going to check. 


Plentiful harvests of corn salad and arugula from the tunnel, both planted (if throwing seed at the earth just before a rain is called 'planting') from saved seed in November. Clara remembered last summer's twelve foot tall sunflowers from their decomposing stalks. I showed her their root balls, chalky with fungal hyphae and reminded her how we left them there to help the soil grow. She spent the late fall hunting mushrooms all over the city (if not actually eating the ones we brought home from the market) so she was pleased to know that this micorrhizal relationship counted as Found Fungi.

The carrots suffered from all the cold (spongy, uk) so we dug them all up. I didn't mulch them back when I could have, though I should have, because of PNW winter mulch lessons I've learned in the past (read: slugs). Tip this way, tip that way. I roasted them, and cut them small for soffritto. Clara and I planted paperweights and crocus for forcing. Our fingers froze. 

Bunnies like to eat Camellia leaves. And flowers. And bark. They have made themselves a little fort by biting and nosing branch bits around. The frost killed the worms in my nascent bunny poo processing area under their hutch. It is lovely to have somewhere to throw weeds and grass - the buns come running in delight. 


It snowed, in an historic way.