Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Eternal Optimist

Today I bought a bunch of seeds for the garden. I bought them despite the fact that we're into the second week in May and I have yet to turn over the garden. I have not turned over the garden because it does nothing but rain around here, and there is no way anyone who hasn't worked out on Muscle Beach could turn over spadefuls of this soil. It is so soaked it's going to take several sunny days to dry out.

But I must at least have the opportunity to dream about the garden, so I bought seeds that I can plant right into the ground, like zucchini and green beans and leaf lettuces because I know I can get them in as soon as the ground is turned over and the compost is dug in. Which hopefully will be before July.

This is always a tough time for me. As a native Californian, I get antsy about the middle of February to start gardening. Of course, the ground is frozen solid here, and we've got another two months of terrible weather and threatened frosts to get through, but I'm psyched up and ready to start gardening.

And then it starts to rain. And rain. Oh, and rain. It's Mud Season in Massachusetts. You can't garden now. You can just stare out the window and hope. Or go to the movies, like most sane people do this time of year. There honestly is nothing else to do. It's too cold and wet for anything, and besides, your allergies are driving you nuts. Let's be honest. Spring sucks in New England.

Until the day when it finally clears up and the sky turns the most lucious blue and the grass grows about an inch a day. The bulbs pop up, the cherry, crabapple and magnolia trees all burst forth with color, the azalea bushes turn the most brilliant pink, and your heart leaps up because it's time to garden!

You have to be a hearty soul to live here and want to grow your own food. I do it every year, and every year I wonder if I'm insane for trying so hard for such a paltry little patch of land. But this year, I'm making a much bigger garden. I'm forgoing perennials for vegetables because we really need to eat our proceeds. So I plan and plot what is going where, and in another month it will all be in. The herbs will be growing, the tomatoes will start to stretch up to the sky, the cucumbers will climb up their strings, the squash will send out their runners, and it will all be OK. If the weather stays decent through the summer.

If you don't yet have a garden, put some herbs and patio tomatoes into some big pots on your back porch or deck. Start small. Taste the joys of fresh tomatoes sandwiched between leaves of your own home grown basil. You'll get hooked. Gardening gets into your blood. Next thing you know, you'll be an optimist like me, always dreaming about a bigger garden with even more types of food.

Raspberries, anyone?

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Blogger Domestic Sensualist said...

What are some of the good patio and container tomato varieties? I'm going to try to get some things planted on the back porch of my new rental.

5/5/08 9:02 AM  
Blogger Pendullum said...

You can just taste that summer is right around the corner....

5/5/08 9:17 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

Neen, I always get one plum cherry tomato, one patio tomato, one regular cherry tomato, and one small type regular tomato (not big boy, more like early girl). Tomatoes don't need a lot of soil to grow in containers but they need really good drainage, a lot of food, and to be moist all the time.

5/5/08 11:23 AM  
Blogger Daisy said...

I usually wait until Memorial Day to actually plant. The risk of frost is still real around here in the Frozen Midwest. I might start some herbs in pots in the kitchen, though. Or a few things on the deck, right next to the house.

5/5/08 8:39 PM  

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