How My Garden Grows 4/27/12


It’s hard to believe it’s not even May yet. The apples are blooming, but in fits and spurts – not the whole tree, and not all at once. There won’t be much of an apple crop this year. In my home county of Leelanau, Michigan the tart cherry crop losses are at 90%, the apples at 50%. This is the face of climate change. Snow on Halloween, tornadoes in February, snowless winters and 8 inch rainfalls, yes, but also big crop losses. It’s humbling, folks.

I am encouraged by the work of 350.org, which is raising climate change awareness. On May 5, 2012 they are facilitating Climate Impacts Day, including Connect-the-Dots events all over the world to connect the dots between extreme weather and climate change. I’ve had it in my head to hold in event in my town, but have not had time to pull it together. What a lame excuse. Check out the webpage to see if there is an event in a town near you – because fortunately, there are  many many forward-thinking folks out there who are not full of lame excuses and have organized events.

Back to the garden – a little cheering up is in order, and my new onion sprouts are just the thing to bring a smile to my face. I’m trying onions from seed this year, as opposed to onion sets, because they’re supposed to get bigger. The most important thing for onions is rich soil and 1 inch of water a week, so I amended the snot out of their garden bed and will water them religiously. Don’t worry onion babies, I got your back.

 The lettuces and greens in the hoophouses are getting bigger every day!

And I have patches of carrots and cilantro that overwintered with no protection and are off like gangbusters. For such a seemingly delicate herb, cilantro is really cold hardy. I already have so much of it, my plan is to start pureeing it with a little water and freezing it in ice cube trays so I can have the fresh taste of cilantro all winter long.

My perennial herbs and vegetables – garden sorrel, chives, sea kale, turkish rocket, and rhubarb – make me feel like a gardening rock star due to their prolific growth. It’s late April and I’m eating sorrel and chives in my salads and making a rhubarb pie. Here’s the lemony sorrel that sometimes elicits a serious (but refreshing) pucker when I eat it.

And I am blessed by the arrival of nettle, motherwort, violet, and greater celandine in my garden. They knew I was ready to learn about them and like Mary Poppins, showed up when they were needed. Nature is wise.

I am delighted and humbled by the Earth’s bounty! And also by the hours of weeding my husband did this past weekend. Thanks babe!

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