The History of Gardening – As Told By Marideth

IMG_0335Well, you’ll never guess what I’ve been doing. I’ve been spending these long hot afternoons, when the outside is not fit to be outside, in gathering up all the loose pieces of gardening commentery I’ve generated over the past decade and something, either from newspaper columns or blabs I’ve created for the radio – and putting them together in one place. Thinking I’ll make a book of them, and maybe an e-book as well. I’ve tried a number of things in a number of places over the years, and have learned a few things as well as discovered that some of the gardening knowledge I’ve held most dear just isn’t so. I’ll be posting a sample soon and you can tell me what you think of it if you like. It’ll be more musings than science, but I had fun going back through some of my experiences and reflections, and I hope you will too. Stay tuned.



My Addiction – My Garden

IMG_0335I started this garden column literally decades ago, before there was an internet, actually, when I was a reporter at The West Plains Quill and we were doing our writing on those Tandy green-screen computers with no memory. That meant if you saved your story to disk and there was something wrong with the disk, you got to do it over. One day, after I’d been waxing eloquently in the newsroom about the wonders of my then current garden, I was handed the gardening page. I was delighted, because I have lots of opinions about gardening, as well as a passion for all things gardening, not the least of which is growing one. I lived in lots of places in my life, and have gardened whenever and wherever possible, including the most of a year I spent in New England and planted a garden I would never harvest. At my age, planting fruit trees are likely to come to the same result. I can’t help it. It’s an addiction.
The only thing that scratches the itch other than having my hands in the dirt is talking about it. And since I live alone with no close neighbors, I’m way more likely to be doing my talking in typescript, even digital typescript. So I’m firing up this long neglected blog space to scratch the itch, and natter on and on about gardening. I’ll tell about what I’m doing out there in the dirt, what I’m thinking about doing, or used to do, or may still do. And since number 3 on my addiction list is books about gardening, I’ll be talking about those as well. Join me, if you will.

Strange weather these past days.

Rain and clouds, but a little too warm for mid-September. More rain this summer than in recent memory made for a productive garden, but one wonders if this is a fluke or signs of a real change that will last a while. I’m of two minds about it.

The ability to relax about using too much well water keeping the garden alive is good. But more trouble with mold and spoilage. I’m curious to see what fall will be like. Some prognosticators have said this winter will be characterized by heavy snow. I’d take that over ice, any day.



Well. Long time no blab.

In the meantime, summer has gone at a gallop and I’m now on community radio, KZGM.FM, Cabool, MO., where I have a gardening show, also called Crosspatch. What fun. I’m going to attempt to post some pictures of my little garden, but they will be more than a month old. More to come when I get the photos processed. I don’t have a digital camera. Sorry. This garden has given me plenty of tomatoes, almost enough green beans and way too many cucumbers (there’s a bushel of them waiting to be processed right now). Not that I’m complaining, of course. And did I mention chard, and eggplant, and peppers, and vast amounts (I’m assuming. They’re not dug yet) of potatoes. Best garden I’ve had in years. Anybody want to blab about containers, straw bales or small space gardening, give me a holler.


Making the garden work

100_4574Howdy. I’ve asked my pal at Moonmooring to come up and take some pictures so I can show you this peculiar garden of mine and stop trying to figure out how to describe it. It’s a third strawbales, a third containers and a third in the ground. This is my first summer living at the farm, after working on the house, going broke, and numerous health problems that I won’t bore you with. The gardening problems coming in included no discernable sign of a former garden anywhere and all the reasonable places grown up in trees. There’s a level place at the front and on the west side, but its problems include a gigantic many trunked mimosa tree, a cement shuffleboard court, and non-farm-raised family members saying “You can’t put that there, it’s the front yard!” So the bales are down one side of the shuffleboard court (hereafter referred to as “the court.) with cattle panels just off the edge to give tomatoes something to grow up (also cucumbers and pole beans). The containers are of various sizes, and they round the end and come down the other side of the court, letting me water all with one long soaker hose. The containers include yard long beans (trellised), horticulture beans, nasturtiums, chard, mizuna, carrots and beets. Herbs include basil, lemon balm, garlic chives, tarragon, thyme and lemon thyme, rosemary, tansy, rue, spearmint, lemon verbena and eucalyptus.

Over under the mimosa, I had a spot plowed and tilled despite lots of tree roots, and planted eight short rows of potatoes (Green Mountain, Kahtadin, Burbank Russets and Red Pontiac) and a couple rows of late onions (they didn’t mean to be. I was just late getting them in). The north half of the space was too shady to grow food, so it’s grown up in green perilla and lamb’s quarter, and now I have many meals of wild greens volunteering to feed me.

Then a friend came over with a chain saw, took pity on me, and lopped off one particularly offending trunk of the mimosa, and now I have sun in the north half. My plan is to keep eating greens and pulling the plants, planting a row as soon as that part is clear. I’m thinking kohlrabi, sprouting broccoli and maybe some chinese cabbage to go into the fall.


Jumping The Gun!

IMG_0335Hm. Well, it seems I jumped the gun on offering a tour of the album. No photos yet on my blog, but you can see them at Moonmooring or wait until I get better at this. Here’s my cranky story. I was waylaid by illness this spring while attempting to start a new garden and didn’t get things planted in a timely manner or get the garden spot developed enough to hold all I wanted to plant. However, a former owner of my little farmette kindly left behind a cement shuffleboard court (they were from California — what can I say?) and I’ve used it to start a garden of straw bales and containers. The original garden has been given over to potatoes and greens, the wild kind, mostly. The strawbales are hosting a variety of eating, canning and drying tomatoes, along with two kinds of peppers, cucumbers, pole beans and an eggplant. In pots are horticulture beans, yardlong beans, chard, mizuna, and nasturtiums. Smaller containers hold rosemary, tarragon, English and Lemon thyme, tansy, rue, eucalyptus, lemon verbena, italian parsley, sage, lemon balm, garlic chives and basil.Everything’s doing nicely, thank you, helped along with weekly fertilizer and rabbit manure tea. All are watered by soaker hose. I use 2″ wide electrical tape to seal off areas of the hose that are not adjacent to areas I want watered, like between containers and such. It’s my first try at bales and I don’t know much about container gardening, but I’m loving the experiment and it seems to work no matter how much I screw up.  More to come about varieties, harvests and ephemera.