‘NOTHING LASTS.’ That Eastern-style philosophical message of impermanence is also what the June garden teaches. What was just all about fresh color and foliage and newness can suddenly looks like a whole lot of big brown deadheads on things like lilacs, with floppy, gone-by perennials beneath them, waiting for you and your trusty shears to make it all better. Are you up for the task—and for insuring the vegetable garden keeps on producing by keeping up the planting? Here’s how: [read more…]
chores by month
Wonder when to prune or when to plant tomatoes or start vegetable seeds? My garden calendar includes seasonal tasks large and small. The goal: progress, not perfection. I don't get everything done, either, but the list helps me to stay somewhat focused. Note: I garden in Zone 5B on the NY-CT-MA border, so you may need to adjust timing for your Zone by referring to the previous month's chores or even the next.
MAYDAY–OR SHOULD I SAY ‘MAYHEM,’ as in: Somebody rescue me by helping with the edging, weeding, mulching required to get ready for the first Open Days of the season (May 11 this year—you coming?). Most important, though, of course, is not to get too swept away by the to-do list, since May is also one of the garden’s most extraordinary months here in Zone 5B and elsewhere, with lots to sit back and savor. [read more…]
PANIC ATTACK MATERIAL. In a year when the snow didn’t melt till the final days of March, that’s how I’d describe April 2013’s garden chore list: worthy of a panic attack. How can we stay focused and calm in the face of cleanup and seed-sowing, pruning and planting, dividing and compost-screening—all of it perhaps crunched into a shorter-than-ideal timeframe if your spring is unfolding like mine—too wet or cold or frozen to have gotten an early start? Think triage ward—and also think about starting right near the house. Here’s why, and what to do when, in print or a podcast. [read more…]
VOICES. VISITS. VARIABILITY. That’s how I can tell it’s March. A few feathered musicians are practicing in the pit the last week here, warming up while they wait for everyone else to show up and get in tune. As if on cue, the Eastern chipmunks—light hibernators—are suddenly fully awake and at their antics, trying to remember where the heck they stashed that last cache of goodies. Hungry! Yes, it’s March: Time to “be up, be doing,” as my mother used to say. Time to get at the garden cleanup—or at least anytime the highly variable (chaotic?) weather permits, that is. [read more…]
I AM STIFLING URGES over here—and maybe that’s what February is about, especially in the Northern garden. Keep calm—but don’t carry on, at least not until the signals are all aligned, please. I blame the expert seduction performed on me by seed catalogs for most of my fidgeting right now, that and the noticeably longer days and strengthening angle of the sun. Those big teases are combining to make me want to start seeds, but let’s think about that and other possible to-do’s carefully together, shall we? [read more…]