Spring in Delaware

delmarvaWe actually are having (or possibly have had) a real Spring here in Delaware this year. A normal Delaware Spring is 3 days long: three, balmy, lovely days which may or may not occur in a row. Then it’s straight on to four months of tropical heat and humidity that makes a mockery of the term “Temperate Zone.”

So the garden is in, with the exception of the warmest weather planting: beans, watermelon, cukes, and squash. The peas, garlic, and shallots are a foot tall, the eggplants and peppers tucked into their 5 gallon buckets, the lettuce and spinach sprouting, the crucifer sets: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, lance-leaf kale, and broccoli getting themselves established. Tomatoes just went in: two Romas and a yellow cherry with ground eggshells dug into the soil surrounding them to help prevent blossom end rot, which is caused by a calcium deficiency exacerbated by uneven watering.

The native plums we planted last year bloomed for the first time, but not at the same time. I think they’re not the same variety: different shape, different blooming schedule. The more vertically oriented one was loaded with blossoms. The other, more spready one, had a total of two blooms. So no plums this year, but the raspberries look set to make up for it. The dwarf cherry, which was so affected by last summer’s heat that Ralph had to put shade cloth over it, survived and is putting out leaves. The iris, which smell like grape Charms, bloom at the foot of the driveway. We had to make the cages around the blueberries bigger: Missy the dog thinks blueberry twigs taste great!

I retired in March and finally got to move back to Delaware, back to my beloved husband and garden. Or husband and beloved garden. Whatever. It’s hard to tell when you’re a garden fanatic.

Either way, it feels good to be home.

iris

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Sorry about the late post. Drove up to Delaware on Wednesday. Got my computer talking to the internet, but the iPhone wouldn’t accept the old “Push the button on the modem” trick. So the photos I’m taking will have to wait until I get back to Charlotte. There will be photos: of the beginnings of various projects, of plants, and more plants, and of the amazing field of violets next to the driveway.

It’s been busy, so far. Got hand-me-down cinder blocks for the greenhouse base yesterday, along with a couple of loads of firewood. Some of the wood was rotten, so we got to turn two negatives into a positive: rotten, unburnable wood, plus a strip of permanently shaded yard = mushroom habitat. Have to research sources of mushroom spores on the net.

I helped move it all. Ralph told me about John’ wife refusing to get  job, because it’s his job to support her. Apparently she might qualify for some sort of disability, but she won’t apply for that either. “I told him, “I’ve gotten a lot of prissy wives in trouble.” Along the way we stopped at Felton Hardware, a delightful relic from another age: plant sets out front, seeds in jars for you to scoop out and buy by the ounce or pound, a place where you can walk in, ask for one of those thingamabobs that have the little whoosit that you flip over, and they’ll ask, “You want the 1/4 inch or 3/8?”

Came home, ate, and reorganized my sewing room, which was full of boxes where the movers stacked them last year. Ralph had set up the bookshelf, but on the wrong wall, so we unloaded the shelf, moved it, and reloaded. It reminded me that my body has been toughened by 13 years in a call center.

So we went to Spence’s Bazaar today, which was way cool, but not likely to bring in more than a hundred or so each time he sets up his veggie stand. Cheap prices from the two competitors. We hope to compete by selling stuff that’s a little different. Yellow pear tomatoes, basil, handing out recipes. Still, every bit helps.  Nice place to shop, though, wandering through the sellers of collectables and hand-made soap, veggie starts and designer knock-offs. Bought  tomato, eggplant, and banana pepper sets from Mrs. Peterson, who has a greenhouse and some harlequin marigolds from another fellow, whose name we didn’t catch.

Came home, and I napped, while Ralph went to haul 4 x 4s and pavers. Woke up after a bit, and tackled the rest of the boxes, stacking them neatly along the wall next to the sewing machine table. Then set up the sewing machine.

Then I tried to plug it in. Um, there are now eight boxes in the way. Sigh. Heavy boxes, most of them.

Ralph returned and I helped him move the lumber and pavers. I couldn’t lift the pavers. They’re 18″ x 18″ of 2 inch thick concrete. So he loaded them into the wheelbarrow, I move them and he unloaded and stacked. So we now have a greenhouse floor. In a stack next to the fence.

I planned to move those damn boxes again after dinner, but found getting out of a chair kind of about as good as it got. So we played Mr Wizard with our Luster Leaf soil test kit. I’ve got pictures of the difference a year of compost application makes on garden soil. My boys visit tomorrow, and the honeydew list is growing. Moving those boxes is on the top of it. Then maybe I can get some sewing done. If I can stay awake.