Spring is Here!

I’ve been spending tons of time outdoors, getting the garden ready for summer. I also transplanted lots of celery starts today — hope they survive the treatment. And my napa cabbage is doing so well I had to thin it today. I can hardly believe I have to keep it indoors until the seedlings are 6 weeks old, but I am trying very hard this year not to do things too early — I lose too many starts that way, trusting the weather to hold, and it never does here in Idaho in the spring.

Celery Seedling Starts

Celery Seedlings

Napa Cabbage Seedling Starts

Napa Cabbage Seedlings

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Spring is Here (I think)

Yesterday was a really nice day, although a little breezy. I have been working for weeks on getting the yard & gardens cleaned up for the growing season, and yesterday I finally decided it was spring-like enough to plant veggies.

I emptied finished compost from my compost bin and filled a wheelbarrow. After moving to other beds the onions that had survived the winter in my south bed (I have 2 5×5 beds, one south & one north), I turned the soil and topped it with my compost. Lovely.

I have been hardening off my leeks, artichokes, and celery for a week, the beets for something less. But I dug in a trellis, planted pea seeds on either side and added my hardened off plants, along with onion, spinach and lettuce seeds.

The artichokes & celery are supposed to be protected from heavy frost (below 28 F). We hadn’t had a heavy frost in over a week. Of course it got down to 18F last night. I did get the artichokes covered when it was only 29F but I’m worried about them. I hope I don’t find blackened stubs when I go out to check when it warms up.

The Aphids Are Back

It’s been a while since I watered my indoor plants — it’s winter, they use less water. Some of them didn’t need any water, and it’s been two weeks. The others, those that needed water, were dry but not hurting yet. With one major exception. The celery.

They weren’t wilting, but the aphids were back. A couple months ago, when I had just brought them inside, I didn’t water for a while, and they got really stressed and infested with aphids. I moved them away from all my other plants and gave them heat and light and sprayed the aphids off two or three times a day until they were all gone. It took weeks (because I spray with water, not insecticides. I try to garden organically and chemical-free. It sometimes complicates life). I thought I had won. Obviously, it was a battle, not the war.

So they’re back in isolation, I’ve sprayed them off thoroughly, and we’ll see how it goes. I caught the infestation sooner this time, so I’m optimistic. Celery is very difficult to start from seed, at least for me. These plants are the five survivors (of twenty seeded) from my second year of trying (the first year all died immediately). So I really want to overwinter them. I know the room where I keep them is too cold, especially with the cold spell we just had. However, it’s the only place I can keep them. I think the aphids are coming partially because the celery is stressed. Luckily, they aren’t on any of my other plants in that room (which are almost all either poisonous tropicals or herbs — I think there’s a connection).

But in the midst of saving the celery, let me spare a thought for the aphids. They are just going along, minding their own business, and then they are drowning in great gouts of water. I have to kill them, to save the celery, but is that really the moral and ethical position? It’s the celery and my food and pleasure, or the aphids.

I think that life is full of death and sacrifices, and we must continually choose. The glory of being human is that we get to choose. The despair and the downfall of being human is that we get to choose. Yes, get to choose. We must choose, but we are also given that enormous power and ability to help us on our way. (Given? you might ask. Yes, given to us by the way things are.) And in our choosing, some day, we will see how not to choose. How to step off the Wheel and into . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  they call it nirvana. they call it nothingness. but a fish cannot conceive air, and we cannot conceive non-choice.

Yes, I do think about things like this when saving my celery from an aphid infestation. *grin*

It’s snowing

I can see from my window the bean tower I made to grow beans next summer. The snow is falling on it gently. I’m supposed to be at an outdoor candlelight vigil tonight and I’m really not looking forward to it. And on second thought, how will it be a candlelight vigil if it’s snowing? Oh, well. I don’t think I have much choice.

But this post was actually supposed to be about how I can’t wait to get gardening again in the spring. When I started this blog, I wanted it to be about gardening as well as my musings, writings, and rantings. It has also evolved to a place for book reviews, but I’ve realized I’ve really written nothing about gardening.

That might be because I started the blog in the fall, and now it’s winter. (I didn’t think you wanted to hear about the epic battle against the aphids on the celery I’m overwintering indoors.) Well, I want to be gardening, and I promise I’ll let you know what I’m doing as soon as I am.

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