By Roger Erpelding
With the danger of a hard freeze coming to an end, I figured it was safe to plant Brussels sprouts and broccoli Wednesday night, April 11. The plants had been in the sun room, and I intended to water them about an hour before placing them in the garden. However, when I brought the plants out to the patio table, I knew they were wet enough.
I brought my Braille yard stick, a large trowel, and the eight plants out to the garden after dinner. My first task was to move the sticks and strings to the west of the potatoes. That was a task easier said than done. The sticks were stationary, but I couldn’t find the string. I did trace one end where it was still tied to the stick, but found it broken. Several attempts to tie the ends together were futile. I would mark the area where they could be tied together with my trowel or yard stick, find both ends, tie them up, only to have them break again. I got tired of this nonsense very quickly, so went back to the garage, fetched the ball of string, and started over again. Fortunately I had a pair of folding scissors with me, so the job went off without incident. Then I moved the sticks and string a foot to the west. During this time, I also noted that the potatoes weren’t up yet–not a real surprise.
I wanted to plant the eight plants on the south end of this row, where they would get the most sun. With the yard stick, I measured 18 inches in, and dug a hole. I continued northward until all eight holes were dug. Following this, I continued to the north end, digging a shallow row for the tender sweet carrots I needed to plant.
I reached through the fence, found the four packs of plants, and headed south. Since the holes were already dug, placing the plants in the hole and covering them up was an easy task that went quickly. I stuffed the empty packs in my pocket, took out the carrot seeds, and distributed them in the furrow I had made. Job done. While I was at it, I moved the sticks and string an additional foot west. I am not sure what is next. I do know that at the west edge of that section, just to the east of the fence, I’ll plant tomatoes. Then we’ll see if there is space remaining.
Growing and forcing bulbs has become a year round project. On April 7, I threw out the last pot of forced tulips. On April 10, Hawkeye Bob read the first fall catalog to me, and I prepared to order several types of bulbs. The fondant and red rocket hyacinths are for forcing. I ordered a group of ten double mixed fringe tulips, and they will probably be forced as well. For Beth, a mixture of tulips, called Monet’s Garden, were ordered. It is probable that these will go outdoors in one of her new flower beds.
Sometime during the night I heard it raining. It rained until at least 10:00 this morning–perfect timing for those plants in the garden. While planting Wednesday night, the ground on top had become quite hard. My soil has a preponderance of clay, so this rain will be perfect to break it up. This should mean the sprouting of the spring stock planted on April 1.