By Roger Erpelding
With 0.4 inches of rain on Thursday, May 8, and more rain in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday, Friday night found me out in the garden again, planting. I noted a large space east of the beans I’d planted Thursday night, and west of the potato rows. I brought out the Braille yard stick, the large trowel, and set up spaces for vine crops. Straight Eight cucumbers, Baby Bear acorn squash, and zucchini squash filled these spaces. As of this writing, ten days later, I haven’t checked for germination. It was a cold week, and I’m quite sure the soil temperature dipped below 50 degrees. Not conducive for germination of beans, or vine crops.
Saturday morning, May 10, saw me planting more items. This time I switched to an area I’ll call Onion Hill, at the south east corner of our property. We had built a wire connecting fence earlier this spring between our east fence, and the neighbor’s north fence. A few years ago my brother brought a box of winter onions to me, and I’d planted them in that space. There is a hill from our property which faces south. The onions had done quite well, but they have not occupied the entire space. A few years ago, this was a waste area of weeds and weedy trees. My neighbor cut them down, and I agreed to have them hauled away at my expense. I planted several hills of gourds down the hill, right along the wire fence. Further west on the hill, I planted some prairie cup plant seeds.
We needed to go to the Master Gardener greenhouse again that morning as well, to pick up several flats of plants for the Plaza Sunshine Garden connected with the Demonstration Garden in Urbandale. This time I resisted buying any leftover merchandise. In fact, I didn’t even look at what might be available. We loaded the flats into the trunk, and headed back for the house.
That Saturday afternoon was the occasion for the Windsor Heights Plant Exchange. I told Beth I was bringing nothing, and taking nothing. Well, I kept half my words. I didn’t bring anything, although Beth brought some extra plants that she had. Loren, a fellow Windsor Heights gardener had brought a prairie cup plant. It now resides on Onion Hill, just west of the gourds and cup plant seeds. Someone brought a whole box of surprise lilies, and I took them all. Someone else brought yellow raspberries; I selected two plants as well. At 2:00, I presented on blindness and gardening. We had a small crowd, but all went well.
By this time it was 3:30 in the afternoon, and rain was threatening. Fortunately, I got all of the plants from the exchange planted except for a pot of chives I’d picked up. All of the surprise lilies, licorice, naked ladies, hardy amaryllis—you name it, got planted west of Onion Hill, at the east end of my south garden fence. The raspberries got planted inside our patio fence on the east end. A gentle 0.3 inches of rain followed, making my planting time perfect.
Sunday was a day to just lounge around, and enjoy my garden handiwork. We had an additional 0.2 inches of rain in the morning, which made everything wet, and not conducive for planting. Another 1.1 inches of rain was to follow that night—just perfect for getting my seeds and plants off to the right start.