Category Archives: Gardening

A Hint of Red

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Friday, 27 July 2018

Oftentimes, the color red isn’t such a good thing.

Think about it. Red traffic lights when you’re in a hurry, endless red tape when you’re working on something involving the government, too many red pencil marks on your grade school papers, flashing red lights behind you when you’ve been speeding, a budget which is in the red, etc.

But when July rolls around and you’ve seen months of springtime green, red can be a very good thing.

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My First Veggie Garden, update two

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Monday, 18 June 2018

My garden is green and growing and doing so well!

In the photo above, you can see one of my tomato plants, in its rusty old cage, up against the weathered white boards of our house.

I just love those cute little yellow blossoms!

Look at the middle left! Do you see those three little tomatoes? I’ve counted about 20 tomatoes coming.

In case you’re wondering what all that white stuff is, down on the ground, it’s crushed-up eggshells. My father says tomato plants like the calcium from eggshells.

And heaven knows I’ve got plenty of ’em. I’ve discovered my picky little eater, Thing 2, likes over easy eggs for breakfast. And on his first day of summer vacation, I taught him how to cook one himself. It turned out perfectly!

So, I rinse the eggshells after I make our morning eggs or bake a cake, and keep the cracked shells in a separate container from my other compost. When it gets full, I take it out to the garden, crush them up a bit, and throw a handful at the base of each plant.

The bushy plants you see on the left are my potato plants, which I’m still shocked even came up! If you look hard, you can see the long skinny onions, and at the top right of the photo is a sugar snap pea plant.

These are more potato plants, surrounding the white blossoms on one of my sugar snap pea plants.

Above, how my garden appeared this morning, 18 June. (If you see any weeds, I don’t wanna know about it. I’m not pulling anything, until I have a better feel for what’s a plant and what’s a weed.)

And below, how it looked on 23 May, less than a month ago. It appears my first attempt at growing vegetables is working! Wahoo!

 

My First Veggie Garden, update one

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Thursday, 31 May 2018

My vegetable garden on the side of the house is doing so well!

You’ve heard the expression, a watched pot never boils? Well, I’m pretty sure the converse is true for my garden, a watched garden always grows! Do you see that little tiny cherry tomato forming? Look hard, it’s there! There are five of them, so far.

I first planted the seeds, starts, and bulbs a month ago, come Tuesday.

I’ve been jealously guarding and checking my little garden, like it’s a newborn baby. I’m over there three or four times a day, looking, staring, and positively willing things to grow, with each day’s first viewing right after I get out of the shower. (Or sometimes, even before I get in the shower.)

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My First Veggie Garden

BY VALERIE BELDEN WILDER
Columbia County, New York  I  Saturday, 19 May 2018

Okay, I know you’re wondering, how did this hippie chick get to her age without ever having a vegetable garden?

Well, I’ve had a rose garden before, when I was back in my 20s, when Julie, Lori, and I were renting my sister’s condo. I had a pretty stressful job at the time, at a service bureau.

What the heck is a service bureau? I’m sure you’re asking. Well, back in the day, when things were printed, they were first imaged to film negative, film positive, or photographic paper, by huge machines called Linotypes.

As a graphic designer, trying to get my foot in the door, I worked at a place with two Linotypes. They were large, heavy, very expensive machines, and every mistake in printing to them was a costly one.

We had regular clients, and some walk-ins, and they all wanted their stuff yesterday. It could get very stressful, when machines broke down, fonts bitmapped or substituted with Courier, the font that strikes dread in my heart to this day.

When I got home at night, I was wound up like a top, from a full day of non-stop deadlines, demands, juggling, and putting out fires.

I’d planted a few rose bushes in the little strip of dirt under our living room window, and I loved nothing more than in the evenings to kick off my shoes, dig my feet into the fresh, cool grass, and prune my rose bushes. All the worries of my work day would just melt away, as I admired the blooms on my Double Delight rose bush.

(Have I mentioned one of my prior jobs was at a rose greenhouse? No, I don’t think I have. Different day, different blog…)

Back then, I didn’t care very much about cooking or growing vegetables, I think I ate a lot of fast food. But I care about all this now. I seem to go through bags of onions and potatoes with alarming frequency.

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