Sunday, March 16, 2014

Can You Smell That?

It's in the air.  I'm not talking about the feed lot on the edge of town although that odor is omnipresent in the atmosphere these days.

No.  I'm talking about spring.  Here we are just past the Ides of March and spring is definitely in the air.  I'm talking robins.  I'm talking greening grass.  I'm talking crocuses poking up from the ground.  I get spring fever really bad and this mid-March weekend was glorious for my garden and my spirit.

This year's tax refund treat was a little electric tiller/cultivator by Earthwise.  I bought it with my own hard-earned money stripped shamelessly from Uncle Sam's hand.  What do I love about this tiller?  Many things!  First of all, no gas or oil to mess with.  Then there's the push button starter.  That's right, no pull cord to yank my shoulder out of joint.  It weighs about 25 pounds so there is no struggling to guide the tiller and it goes after the soil like it's collecting a debt.

Yesterday, I assembled 'Tilly' and took her for a test spin. In about five minutes, I had turned over and incorporated the leaves and grass I used to mulch these two beds last fall.  Another five minutes of work and they'll be ready for planting.

Emboldened by my tilling prowess, I escorted Tilly to the opposite end of the garden where we had not yet broken ground for planting.  After about an hour, Tilly and I had created this:

No.  This is not a grave site.  At least I hope it's not.  This is the site of my potato patch for this year.  I am anxiously awaiting construction of a nice, wooden raised bed about 8 x 8 feet square.   I am very impressed with the performance of this little tiller and I heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a small tiller/cultivator.  This is the one I got.

Yep, it's time to think about potatoes again.  I remembered this when I went to the Big Town to get a new dog bed for Lucky.  In a fit of pique triggered by God knows what, last week he managed to flay and gut his old bed.  The gore factor was pretty significant and we had to haul the carcass away forthwith.  He went without a bed for almost a week.  The way he acted you'd think he had been consigned to the garage floor.  The living room has perfectly fine, if soiled and somewhat worn carpeting suitable for lounging by the canine crew.  Nonetheless, he moped and carried on while restlessly shifting from one spot on the floor to another heaving heavy sighs until I broke down and got him a new bed this afternoon.  Here he is 'enjoying' his new bed:

You're stealing my soul!
Lucky isn't super fond of having his picture taken.  I have more shots of the back of his head than anything else.  He's a beautiful animal with amazing blue eyes.  If I didn't have the pics from his puppy hood, I'd never be able to prove it.  In contrast, here is Dotti-dog on the same bed less than 30 seconds later:

Caught her mid-lick. This dog always makes me smile.
Back to the potatoes.  After much hemming and hawing at the display in the garden center carefully weighing the qualities of the available varieties, I went with the early season Yukon Gold and a white, mid-season called Superior. Stay tuned for performance critique and results as the season progresses.  I hope to plant by the first of April.

When I think of planting potatoes, I also think of planting onion sets.  This year is no different and the varieties are the same ol', same ol' I get every year.  Generic white, generic red and generic yellow.  The shallots grew gangbusters last year and they were right tasty so they went in the cart as well.

Yes, I know 300 is a lot of onions.  Typically I wind up discarding about 15-20% of the sets due to decay and then only about half of what's left will actually grow.  Plus, I've never gotten an onion any bigger than a tennis ball out of my garden.  Small onions don't bother me though.  I hate to leave a part of an onion in the fridge.  It never seems to get used up and pretty soon the fridge stinks of onion.  I also decided to try growing onions from seed this year.  It's a new thing for me so I'm reluctant to not plant onion sets as well.  I may have an abundance of onions at the farmer's market this year...which is another topic coming soon.  My first farmer's market experience as a seller!

So that's where I'm at.  I've started a few seeds...peppers and eggplants and the onions of course...but I'm not ready to talk about those.  For now, I'll dream about taters with sour cream and chives.  At least until the snap peas come on.


  1. Lori, I found out this year that sets won't make big onions, you have to start seed for that. Who knew?

    1. Huh. Who knew, indeed? The biggest onions I ever got came from some onion plants that I bought at the farm store about 10 years ago. Still, none of them were bigger than a tennis ball.