When I stuck my head outside this morning, can you believe it, it smelled like spring. And what does one do when the smell of spring is in the air—well what I do is begin thinking about my vegetable gardens. Yes, I have two of them. A big one at my farm, where we grow vegetables for three families. And a tiny, raised garden in my city backyard that is but three feet by eight feet. You would be surprised what can be grown in that tiny space.
My garden seeds arrived the other day, and this afternoon I’m sorting through them and visualizing what wonderful (don’t we always hope) vegetables each packet will produce. I plant both heirloom as well as fancy new hybrids. This year my heirloom seeds are Tenderpod bush beans, Acorn Table Queen squash, Connecticut Field pumpkins, Nantes Half Long carrots (they are the best), Detroit Dark Red beets and Large Bottle gourds.
Each year I try something new. Last year it was Collards. I’d never grown collards before, but they did well and Steve and Natasha enjoyed collard greens. This year I am trying a Sweet Seedless Hybrid tomato. I anticipated the seed packet would be empty when it arrived—after all the tomato is supposed to be seedless. But the packet contained 10 seeds for which I paid $5.95. That amounts to dang near sixty cents a seed. I have yet to tell my wife. I’ll let you know later how these special tomatoes turn out.
I've got two more “new” tomato varieties: Cloudy Day Hybrid (a variety for summers with limited sunshine), and Fourth of July Hybrid, which is supposed to have fruit ready for the table 49 days after transplanting—not 50 days, not 48 days, but 49 days. I always plant Burpee’s Big Boy tomatoes, too—they've been a sure thing for me.
I’m trying a cucumber variety, Spacemaster, that’s supposed to grow seven inch cucumbers on vines the third the size of ordinary cuke vines. We’ll see. This year I’m trying a new variety of peas called Easy Peasy—how could you not like peas with a name like that? Besides I have 200 seeds in the packet for which I paid $4.95, which amounts to about two and half cents a seed. Compare that to my seedless tomatoes going for sixty cents a seed.
Of course I have all the other usual vegetables, sweet corn, winter squash, summer squash, radishes, lettuce, rutabagas and more.
Keep the warm weather coming, I’m feelin’ the garden urge.
THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Thoughts of spring are thoughts of gardening.
Sunday, March 22, 3:00-5:30 p.m. Schumacher Farm Volunteers Recognition. Waunakee Village Center. Stories from the land.
Wednesday, March 25. Noon. Banquet speaker for Wisconsin Agriculturist Magazine Farmer of the Year Award Program. Oshkosh. Farm Stories.
Tuesday, April 7, 6:30. Heritage Hill Museum, Green Bay. Garden Wisdom
Tuesday, April 14, 7:00 p.m. Friends of Eau Claire Library. Eau Claire, WI. Stories from the land.
Sunday, April 19, 7:00 p.m. Lebanon Historical Society, Lebanon Community center. Stories from the land.
Monday, April 20, Noon. Fox Valley Book Festival, UW-Fox Valley. Whispers and Shadows
Wednesday, April 22, 6:30 Patterson Memorial Library, Wild Rose. Mid-Wisconsin Launch of Whispers and Shadows. Fundraiser for the library.
Friday, April 24, 8:00 p.m. Ice Age Trail Org. Wis. Dells, Winter Green Resort. Old Farm
Tuesday, April 28, 6:30 Black River Falls Library, Sky Line Golf Course. Stories from the land
Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fund raiser for them):
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs, Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps and Jerry Apps A Farm Story.
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including The Quiet Season (on which the DVD A Farm Winter is based), as well as Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm, (which are related to the DVD Jerry Apps a Farm Story). Also available is Jerry’s new novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street