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broodings from the burrow

April 5, 2021

notes from the garden: early april 2021
posted by soe 1:53 am

In the last week, the garden went from looking like this:

End of March Gardening

to looking like this:

Easter Gardening

Partly it’s because I spent a good portion of this afternoon digging up sections of my bunching onions and shifting them to the fenceline so I could put in the flat of new plants Rudi and I bought yesterday. (I added a couple new herbs, celery, yellow onions, strawberries, and flowers.)

And partly it’s because things are finally really starting to grow.

We have violets:


We have peas:

Pea Shoots

And we have spring greens:


I love this time of the year at the garden. You can really see the difference at every visit!

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March 15, 2021

notes from the garden: march 2021
posted by soe 1:40 am

Notes from the Garden -- March 2021

I spent several hours down at the garden this afternoon. I raked everything out, pulled aside the straw-like bunching onion stalks to discourage the slugs from eating my strawberries (I assume it will have no effect on the rabbits), marked off the boundaries of the beds, and turned over the soil in the main section.

The sorrel is back (that’s what’s in the front center of that section) and there are still several clumps of onion. The soil is healthy — lots of worms — but I should add some more one of these years, since my plot is sunken compared to the pathway (and therefore prone to ending up with the wood mulch in it).

Several years back, I planted bulbs along the back fence. The mini daffodils (they’re normal-sized heads, but have stems that are like three inches tall) have been the most successful of those, although I also saw shoots for at least one crocus and some tulips.

Notes from the Garden -- March 2021

The mint and rosemary are doing fine. I suspect the lemon balm is also fine; I dumped a bunch of tomato cages on it, but it’s ridiculously hardy. I noticed the purple sage I planted last fall had some leaves on it in the potato patch, so I’ll need to be careful when I put in the potatoes that have gone to seed in my kitchen.

I’m down to only one or two strawberry plants in the right section of the garden, so that will be a top priority in the near future. My peony survived, though, and is looking very cheerful.

Notes from the Garden -- March 2021Notes from the Garden -- March 2021

And a single, adorable leek overwintered. I’ll be saving it for a special dish.

In addition to tracking down strawberry plants (they were virtually impossible to find last year) and planting the past-prime potatoes, getting peas and early greens into the ground are next on my priority list.

Being outside and working in the sun was helpful toward channeling my grief at Jerry’s death into something productive. He and Dan also appreciated gardening and had a very nice collection of plants on their top floor terrace.

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January 24, 2021

notes from the garden: january 2021
posted by soe 1:08 am

January Gardening

My garden looks dead, but it is not. I harvested some rosemary today. There is also still lemon balm and peppermint. My sage has some tiny leaves on it, so I heaped leaves around it to encourage it to think warm thoughts. I believe some of my tiny leeks are still alive, and I definitely saw that some of the greens I’d planted were making an effort, as is the omnipresent sorrel. I pulled down the rest of the bulbless onion grass stalks, which are strawlike, and added them to the beds to protect what’s already been sown and might be growing under the leaf litter I leave as mulch. If I’d been smart, I would have constructed a low tunnel or cold frame earlier in the season to see if I can actually harvest greens through the winter. Maybe next year.

This little pansy, which I planted Labor Day weekend, was also still giving it its all:

January Pansy

I also found several fluffy seeds, which I’m guessing are milkweed. They wouldn’t get to stick around in my plot, so I re-sent them on their windy way.


I’ll start to think about planting peas next month. If there’s a warm weekend in February, I’ll get some in then; otherwise, I’ll sow the first round in early March.

I will say that the nice thing about a mid-Atlantic garden is that you don’t have many months where there isn’t something you can harvest.

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September 27, 2020

notes from the garden: late september
posted by soe 1:52 am

Today, a surprise in the garden!

We’ve spent all summer nurturing a squash plant that seemed to grow blossoms, but never actual squash. Then, last week, Rudi saw a zucchini starting to form:

Zucchini Growing

Today, I discovered this growing beneath it:

Zucchini Grown

We grew a surprise zucchini — our first in more than a decade of gardening!

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September 7, 2020

notes from the garden: labor day weekend
posted by soe 12:16 am

Labor Day Gardening

My garden plot was all cherry tomatoes and bunching onion flowers and budding milkweed, which was fine, but I wanted something more, so I headed out yesterday with the intention of bringing home new plants.

The only problem with buying new plants is that then you have to plant them! (more…)

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August 25, 2020

notes from the garden: late august
posted by soe 1:56 am

I often neglect to show photos from the garden in the height of summer. It’s overgrown and I spend all my time there watering and picking and weeding and then I get home and think, “I should have taken some photos.”

I have young bean plants and hope to have beans in early October, which is still plenty warm in the mid-Atlantic. I planted about a dozen varieties, so I will be pleasantly surprised by what shows up.


I have a bounty of cherry tomatoes. Marauders of the two- and four-footed varieties have plagued our community garden this summer, so most big tomatoes were picked. (I try to be Zen about it — I don’t need the food I grow. Maybe the people who hop our fence would otherwise go hungry. But it can be frustrating until I remind myself of that fact.) But the cherry tomatoes mostly have survived, and mine have branched out everywhere, including vertically down into my bunching onions.

Cherry Tomatoes Everywhere

The cucumber plant continues to be very productive, giving me one every week or so. There are plenty more flowers, so I’d expect productivity to continue through September, at least. (Side note: homemade pickles are delicious.)


I have had a stellar year with my cone flowers. Here you can see the various stages they go through:

Lifespan of My Cone Flowers

Not pictured but also growing: Herbs, potatoes, peppers, zucchini flowers (but never actual zucchini).

I still need to get some seeds in the ground for fall greens. They’ve gone with me to the garden a couple times, but I just haven’t gotten around to planting them, although I’ve now cleared the clover and violets out of where they should go.

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