Tag Archives: Springtime

Gardening With My Toys


The garden is coming along, a little slowly.  It’s been pretty incredible during the day around here, but chilly at night, so everything slows down.  I did not have good luck with my sugar snap peas, so I dug up the refused-to-germinate seeds, amended the Pro Mix with composted soil and manure, and started again.  Twice.  The same thing happened with the radishes, so I planted a new row, just for kicks, in the raised bed.  The radishes are up, and the new crop of peas, this time, “Sugar Ann” bush peas, are showing signs.  It’s probably too late for the peas, but…had to try, right?  I’m stubborn as a mule that way.

I had help today.  My two little crochet buddies came out with me, for Earl’s very first trip into the garden, and we had a ball.  Me, with my camera, they, with their…crochet toy-ness, and Reggie…always Reggie, with his style and grace.

Here’s how it went….

The first stop little Earl had to make was to the porch rail for his close up.  What a sweetie!  He’s not as boisterous as Chauncey is, but he’s just as “game.”   His big brother is his hero.

“I’m a Peen-Koo-sheen, just like my big brother!”

From there we went back Inside, so they could hang out with the new baby seedlings that keep warm on the mats, under the lights.  Lots of different kinds of tomatoes, several varieties of hot peppers, one white cucumber,  a Sugar Baby watermelon, as well as several Gold Bar Melon seedlings are out there.  I also started some parsley and sage.   Earl, who had not yet been to see the garlics for his name, thought the baby plants were cool.

“They’re babies!  Just like me!”

Chauncey was grooving on the lights being low enough to swing on.

Back Outside we went,  where Chauncey made a bee line for Reggie, who was waiting with open stems.  The Garlics, always humming their strange song, welcomed the little one, and named him, Earl.

The Garlics, as you can see, are doing very well.  Nice, thick stalks.

And Reggie…my sweet Reggie…is going to seed.  We’re calling it his “special time.”  He’s about to have babies!

I do not have the heart to tell Chauncey that this means we’re about to lose Reggie.  Some times, I don’t have the heart to reconcile myself with it, even though I know…so we’re calling it,  Reggie’s Special Time, for now.  It is a happy time!  We’ll lose Reggie, but there will be little Reggie seeds…descendants.  A new generation.  And, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Reggie knows.  He’s fine.  He’s happy.  Reggie, being tuned into that whole circle of life thing, is just happy that he found a home, a place where he wasn’t tossed at the end of the season, where he would live to go to seed, and have his seeds collected and given a chance.  I am in the fabulous position of seeing it through, seeing this marvelous plant live through his season,  and being given the opportunity to bring a new generation of this plant into the world.  I’m lucky to have Mike, my good friend, to walk me through the seed collecting process.  With his help, I’ll be able to save every precious seed, share them start them, grow them.

We’ll lose Reggie, but he will have a solid legacy.

Look at those tall, thick seed stalks, the thickness and richness of that foliage.  Isn’t he magnificent?  I counted a dozen of those thick seed stalks, and there are more forming.  Reggie is totally into getting his seed on!

This is exactly what Mike described to me, that these seed heads would look like Queen Ann’s Lace.  Beautiful!

Thick, deep green foliage…Reggie is purely diggin’ being out in the sun.

Chauncey and I introduced him to Earl,

who immediately hopped up into Reggie’s dreads to play a game of Parsley Commando, Chauncey’s favorite game.  Don’t let the parsley fool you.  He loves these little guys.  Even when Chauncey is hollering and jumping up and down, he’s happy to have them.

He did, however, promptly kick them out of the planter with a laughing, “Go play!”

So, play we did!

Chauncey and Earl hung out with the Garlics for a time, humming along with their strange song.

The spinach, which is doing very well to date,

Is always one of Chauncey’s favorite places to play.

“We love the Speen-Yach!!!!!”

It was a super-special draw for little Earl, who has discovered that, if he holds himself just so, he can grow with his “speen-yach”  buddies!


They moved on to a raised bed that looks empty…

Where they wanted to know, “If you plant us like the speen-yaches, will WE grow?”

“Sorry, Guys…you’ll only get your feets dirty.”

Well…Chauncey likes his new blue feets way too much to risk them on anything less than a sure bet, so…off we went to play somewhere else.

They helped me thin out my radish row!

“Ray-Deeshes?  Hey!  We can help you with the Ray-Deeshes!”

From there they checked out the container of bunching onions, just starting to pop.

“Wat dees Ahn-Jeens?  Are they like Ray-Deeshes and Speen-Yaches?”

I explained that the three plants, when they’re picked and washed, and put all together in a salad with tomatoes, are delicious, that humans eat them.  Thankfully, this did not freak them out.  I told them that some of the little baby plants, Inside, were “Toe-May-Toes,” as they put it, and they got all excited that the little plants would get bigger and bigger and have red and yellow and green and pink and orange fruits.  They can’t wait!

We went around the side of the house, where the little wild flowers growing in the lawn caught their attention.  They just had to snuggle up to the bright blooms!


 I didn’t have the heart to explain to Earl that Dandelions are weeds, on the digging block.


 Further up in the yard,  they discovered even more cool flowers to kick back in!  Feelin’ Groovy,  soakin’ up the rays….


 They stopped at one of my neighbor’s planters to make friends with the little Dutch girl who lives in there.  They have yet to meet Lola, but that’s coming.


 And paused to contemplate the wonders of the garden, on Lola’s gazing ball.  Earl thought it would be way too cool to sing like the Garlics.



 They checked out the cool new blueberry plants waiting to be planted.



 And while Chauncey pondered a cauliflower seedling,

“Wat dees gonna be?”


 Earl’s eye caught the brigh yellow bag of “secret ingredient.”



 I had to ask him how he knows what “Dookie” is…he answered, “We saw the Tee-Vee!”

“Yeah!”  Chauncey chimed in.  “You can do it!  We can help!”

Okay!  I guess they caught a Home Depot Dookie ad.  Good thing I stick to cartoons and hockey….

Finally, time to toss a little water around.  Chauncey is always game for a new adventure, and very helpful, too.  He watered my corn!


 Of course, he got muddy and wet.  If you play in the garden and you don’t get muddy and wet, you didn’t do it right!  So, muddy, wet, blissfully happy, they followed me Inside, to the bathroom, where they relinquished their pins and needles for that most wonderful of wonderful things…a BATH!

And, oh, didn’t they love the bath.  I let them play in there for a long time.

“If we had noses, these bubbles would tickle them!” 


 They loved getting rinsed and wadded up into a clean, warm towel.


And it was Chauncey…it’s always Chauncey…who figured out,

“Hey!  We can get all dry really fast in Reggie’s Summer Machine!”

Earl, being Earl, did not hesitate.

They hopped and chattered all the way out onto the front porch, excited to take a ride in the Summer Machine.

“You have to tell Reggie we’re gonna ride in his Summer Machine!”

I really didn’t have to.  The deep, smooth, almost maniacal laughter coming from Outside told me that he heard them. 


Kids…do not try this at home.


 All clean, all dry, ready to go back to watching TV, swapping pins and needles…being brothers.

“We Bros, yo!” 


 I can’t wait to see these guys around tomatoes and dahlias.  Stay tuned!




Ah, Springtime, Your Scent Is…Skunk.


Good morning.

 While a hundred-something years of Diner work has me waking up at four in the morning anyway, this morning was different…and … scented.

 You’re sleeping, you’re sleeping, you’re coming awake…what is that…no, go back to sleep…but it…Oh, Damn!  


At least, being February in Connecticut means that the windows were closed.  I only woke up to a slight face full of Pepe LePew.

This is actually a good thing.  Pepe’s return means that Winter is just about out of here.  Not that it ever really showed up to begin with.   We had a total of less than a foot of snow over the entire season, and several inches of that were on Halloween.  The only other snow my little slice of Connecticut had, was  gone within a couple of days because the temps shot right back up to fifty.

I’ll take it!

Today is Friday, February 17th.  Last year, this time, we were under several feet of snow, with more on the way.  This year, I’m planting spinach.

Yes!  I’m going to do it.  I was walking around out there a bit yesterday, and I found a left over spinach plant that had gone unnoticed, growing.  Huh.  Well, cool.  I’m going to get the window boxes out and try my luck.  What have I to lose but a package of seed?

Seed, I have plenty of.  My orders from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Park Seed came in, Henry fields sent their big package of goodies, and after I spoke to Mike yesterday, (all the way from Frozen Florence, Italia!) I went right to Refining Fire Chiles and ordered a pack of sugar snap pea seeds.  You remember Mike?  He says, this is the time to start peas, especially since it’s so warm, and he can make rocks grow, so…off I went to order seeds…and more scallions, of course!

I’m not going to “officially” declare winter over…winter ‘s end brings with it a scent, a whisper..hard to describe, but the air smells sweeter, more promising…and that’s sans Pepe, by the way.  I haven’t smelled that sweetness in the air yet.   So, while I’m not “officially” declaring winter over, I will say that…should I plant my small spinach boxes and peas only to have Winter say, “Hey, Connecticut!  We forgot those guys!” and decide to show up..it won’t matter.  Time’s up!  We’re halfway through February, so even if it gets rough, it won’t stay that way for long.

Tomato time is a couple of months away.  For now…spinach, peas, possibly scallions…it’s time to start the garden.

Stay tuned!  We still have to name all those garlic plants!