3.20.2015

A Gardening Note To Ourselves

After plotting and planning for a few days, last weekend Peggy and I headed to town to pick up some stuff from Lowes to stick in the ground.  Since the weather was nice for now, but a rainy week was forecasted,  it seemed like a good time to hurry and plant our garden.  It's a gamble to plant this early and our 'main weather prognosticator' (our 20 year old pecan tree) hadn't even began to bud. No matter how sunny and warm the Spring season here in South Louisiana, if the old pecan tree refuses to bud,  you can bet 'he' knows what he's 'talking' about; for sure another heavy frost is lurking around nearby.  It always happens. Last year, for instance. It had been warm for about a month and kept getting warmer as the days went on. 'Everybody else' in our yard was blooming and flowering. We ignored the old pecan tree's wisdom for a change and planted our gardens. Sure enough, a week or so later, along sneaked that very frost one night and wiped out our whole garden,  the baby plums hanging so plump and full of promise, and most of our citrus crops. This year we are kinda worried, because there he stands, arms folded, silently holding back his buds, with not even a hint of them. Still...it's getting late in the season, so with one eye on him, we figure this year maybe the odds are in our favor.  Sunday, when we walked outside it was 70 degrees and sunny.  The yard is full of clovers, and the birdies were singing and it was a great day to play outside.  The plum trees are dark green and loaded with little fruit.
Upon close inspection I noticed a few branches on the North side had been hit by a recent frost, but the majority of the tree was fine and the plums were looking good.


If all goes well, we will have a big crop and we cant wait to pick and can and share them.  Our big naval orange tree still has half a dozen or so oranges on it, and is covered with flower buds for this Fall's crop. Oh, and they were abundant and sweet-sweet-sweet.
The flowers on our lemon tree are beginning to open and when the breeze is right, the whole neighborhood can smell their amazing fragrance.  While Peg and I were 'playin' in the yard, an occasional breeze would carry the smell of Spring to us, over and over. We were hoping the ol' pecan tree would take a whiff.
 
One happy surprise was our little Yum Yum nectarine tree.  Overnight it got the big idea to that to start blooming. The contrast between its bright pink flowers and the dead banana fronds is somehow, in our minds, lovely.
Each year the train of frosts kill the tall, lush green banana palm leaves, so we trim them back and almost immediately, barring any other freezes, they quickly replace themselves with even more vigor. So, right now the 'nanners need some TLC, but we are waiting for a few weeks, then we plan to use the dried fronds for mulch around our trees, etc.
The only unusual thing about this picture of Peggy planting stuff in her new bed is that she had no four legged helpers. (Two of the kittens have never returned, but the two who remain, along with their Mama cat, are usually somewhere around, putting their little paws into the holes Peg digs to put in new plants, or they are doing cartwheels over the worms she unearths. Strange not to find them in any of these photos.) 
This last picture is the purpose of this post.  It's here to remind us that, for better or worse, we planted our small garden March the eighth.

Our beloved little 4' by 12' garden box is planted for the 14th year.  This Spring we put sweet peas and cucumbers on the ends by the trellises, and left to right bush beans, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.   Nearest us in the center front are 4 bell pepper plants partaking in our new "Great Epsom Salt Experiment".  (more about that later)
Having gotten our garden all planted, we pray for good returns for all our efforts.  We will post the results come what may, so now, the yearly gamble is ON,  and now we know exactly when it was we planted it, and all the while, across the yard, the wise old pecan tree looks on.
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