Another Day in the Country

The grand garden months

© Another Day in the Country

Here I am, at the beginning of June in my garden, and it seems as if I have a million things to do quickly and a whole lot of things not done. I need to hurry up and get things planted, started, transplanted, dug up, mulched, turned, clipped, and staked, or I’m not going to have the garden that I dreamed of earlier in the year — which seems to happen almost every year as I compare wishes and actuality.

May in my garden, this year, seemed a little like being in your late 30s, when you could still make course corrections in life. You could still go back to school and get that degree and try some other career path, or have a career path for the first time other than mothering, which became a career path even though you hadn’t known it would when having a child was just one of those magical choices in life. So, if May is like being 30, April would be like it was when you were in your 20s.

Twenty seemed just like spring when you’d just graduated from college, and only sunny days were ahead. You knew there’d be some rain — everyone needs refreshing rain — but it would be followed by glorious sunshine. I was getting my first full-time job in the April of my life and I was in love. April is the season for love, especially in my garden, when everything is hopeful and coming alive. Mother Nature in spring is like having a really wonderful, enthusiastic sweetheart.

In April, garden possibilities and past promises are coming up all over in my yard. The larkspurs have re-seeded, and the violets are blooming. Long days of winter drudgery are over, and it’s time to grow and bloom.

April is my favorite month and spring my favorite season, although I don’t know that my 20s were my favorite years. During my 20s, things were a little up for grabs, even though I was enjoying a tremendous growth spurt. There was always the threat of frost! I didn’t feel well established and hadn’t had enough experience. My leaves and my heart too tender.

March was an even tougher time.

“Is it safe to come out?” the trees seemed to say. “Let’s just sleep a little longer.” The flowers mumble, “Look at the tulips; they grew up fast and got snowed on big time.”

Teenage years are often difficult years; you get bossed around by the elements. It’s almost easier to do nothing.

What if everything warms up and you think you’re safe and them, WHAM! a cold front hits?

I guess my analogy would make February like childhood, totally unaware of the seasons of life and what that might mean. We could listen to fairytales in February, pretend and just play while the earth turned on its axis.

By the time you read this column, my garden will be in its 40s. Lots of future ahead in your 40s, but we’ll have already pretty much decided what direction life is going by then.

We for sure won’t be planting peas this year in my garden. It is too late for that. Nor will we be planting any more cabbage (which the rabbits decimated). We did try potatoes again, onions, for sure tomatoes and peppers.

I finally got those cucumbers planted. They are just coming up — a little late, but I think they’ll do fine. I used to try to grow corn but now I leave corn production to the Jiraks.

The beans I just planted are already coming up. It seems as if you can plant a hill of beans almost any old time for the next couple of months and still get something out of them — like starting a savings account or investing in stock.

July will be the waiting month, when things are growing along fine. In July you weed and water a lot. You hope there won’t be a mid-life crisis. If you let things go, you’ll have a mess on your hands, or your plants will be stunted.

In August, my garden really starts to be productive, but then I have to decide whether I’m going to plant “winter crops,” which is like planning for the next generation. August would be your 60 in this story — a good time in life; which makes me a September inhabitant in life, where you can still reap what you’ve sown and you gather the corn stalks and pumpkins together in a garden arrangement with the scarecrow and declare a celebration.

September is another of my favorite months when the Kansas weather is sublime and you hope there isn’t an early frost because the tomatoes are at their peak and taste so wonderful. So you get out there and grow yourself something in this wonderful, black dirt. It’s another day in the country.

 

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