Garden Flash!

cover for blog copyThe peas are in! I don’t know how you feel about peas, so this may or may not be exciting news for you. Certainly some are feeling smug, for their own peas are probably not only in but up a few inches, so you will be eating peas before I do. To which I reply with that Ozark declaration, “Well! Ain’t you somethin!”

As for what peas and how many, since there’s just one of me, I planted a short, four foot row of Sugar Ann snap peas along the east fence of the garden – snap peas because I find them more versatile and less troublesome to harvest and prepare, and because I like the nice, satisfying crunch when using them raw.And Sugar Ann because they produce a shorter vine more nearly the height of my four foot high garden fence. I know the original Sugar Snap boasts a 10-foot vine, but I have no intention of either building a 10-foot trellis or trying to pick them while balancing on a ladder whose feet are resting on my soft and untrustworthy garden soil. I think the message I’m trying to come to is that one whose intent is to have peas should decide what they like best and plant those.Some will choose delicate snow peas; others will be content with nothing but the traditional English peas (of which the old standard Lincoln variety is still tops for taste and abundance, incidentally. But don’t settle for less than your favorite. If you don’t have favorites, experiment. Just don’t try to mimic what I’m doing unless that’s what you really want. You’ll be happier that way, and you’ll have peas! I can hardly wait. If it ever stops raining, I’m going to plant way too many potatoes next. And tell me. How does your garden grow?


S. Denton



It’s Out, or Almost

IMG_0335My new book of gardening essays, titled Crosspatch: Cranky Musings on Gardening in Rocky Ground has arrived at the printer, has been accepted, and proof copies will arrive October 15 – just in time for the holidays!
It’s 254 pages jam-packed with thoughts, notions, some wee bits of wisdom and loads of odds and ends on gardening as the valuable, healing meditative expression of hands in dirt and head in the clouds – a uniquely human effort that feeds both body and soul. It’s the total gardening me, guaranteed to be out standing in my field.
Those of you who followed my years-long gardening column in the West Plains Daily Quill and/or my radio essays “These Ozark Hills” will find some of these pieces familiar. They (no pun intended) cover a lot of ground. I can’t wait for you to see it, read it and let me know what you think!  The book will be available at a variety of outlets by Halloween or before. Or you can order an autographed copy from me.
cover for blog copy
Crosspatch: Cranky Musings on Gardening in Rocky Ground – order Crosspatch

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.

After a day-long session with blogger Sarah Denton

After a day-long session with blogger Sarah Denton, I finally managed to start putting up some photos. However they’re from earlier in the summer, July I think, and the garden has been through some major changes since then. The cucumbers are closed for the season, the beets are acquiring bottoms, and the fall peas are up and blooming their little heads off. Some things I will do again, others not so much. But over all this odd little garden has been one of the best I’ve grown, both in terms of how much was produced and how very much I enjoyed doing it.  Of course a life threatening illness will tend to make one a bit more appreciative. But my return to health, such as it’s been, can be directly attributable not just to the exercise, but to the lightening of spirit that comes with seeing nature work its miracles. Many a summer morning was spent with the first cup of coffee out next to the garden in a lawn chair, focusing on just one plant, or the light, or the breeze. My mantra changed from “Let me get through this day” to “I am blessed beyond measure.” More photos to come when they get back from the processor. And some garden thoughts that are more about the garden than about me. ‘Bout time, doncha think?



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.