Sunday, February 24, 2013

Toeing the Line

February is time to dig. The frost has only reached skin deep this year, and the rain rain has stayed away to come again some other day. This perfect non-storm afforded me the opportunity to dig, shake and rake. I dig up some sod, shake off whatever topsoil and worms I can (most of 'em, when to soil is not saturated), and use my grandma's long-handled garden rake to get the beds ready.

My maternal grandma, whose rake I think this is, was more unruly than row-ly. Like her, I plant haphazardly, tucking things in here and there. But a true chaotic high note takes some time to achieve, and being on rented land (owned by someone I have reason to believ would not appreciate random island of plants in his lawn), I've gone for a more orderly, rectilinear garden layout this year.

Ergo the row-beds and rectangles that comprise my garden this year. The ones pictured above (wide one is for a hoophouse full o' tomatoes, other one for taters and pole beans), and a strip along the house's eastern front for snap peas, the early potatoes and various herbs and flowers. Oh, and another rectangle in the far back where there is sun in the morning and again in the later afternoon, when rays sneak in beneath the neighbor's trees. 

Planting has begun--early taters and snap peas in the sundrenched east, poppies and the first lettuce and radishes wherever--but February is mostly about getting ready. Dig the bed. Apply gore (blood and bone meal).

The linear beds will flow and then ebb, and probably become a grassless mass by Summer's end. If this became my place for more than a year, a piece of ground I could count on long-term, the lines would meander, the rectangles would chaoticize. But however anarchic my gardening may be(come), however prone I am to planting hither and yon like my grandma, a Year 1 garden looks tamer, rowed, and conventional.

1 comment:

  1. I remember another row or two like this, eleven or so years back - the riotous bush, a fireworks explosion of candy tomatoes so profuse even the birds didn't eat them all. The marigolds. The fistfights with mockingbirds over lettuce ...