Monday, March 08, 2010

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary.....

"Wintering in Florida" has taken on a whole new meaning this year. Not since 1958 has the state had such a brutal winter, understanding, of course, that "brutal" to a Floridian is different than "brutal" to a North Dakotan. Still. It's been a lot more about huddling indoors, wrapped in multiple layers of whatever woollies you didn't blithely toss away when you made the decision to go south, than frolicking on the beach in your scanty bikini [not, my dears, that I would, even on the hottest day, subject the rest of humanity to the sight of this aging bag of bones in such a garment......]

So it was a long overdue treat to sit on the dry brown remains of what used to be our grass, yesterday, and indulge in an hour of catching up with the Little Blister, while the sun warmed my back. She'd been moaning earlier in the week in an e-mail, that I need to post more often; every day for instance! Whoa! Have you seen a blog post from her in recent memory? Didn't think so. And she has so much she could write about. Certainly she has a livelier life than I do. Which is part of the problem. She has dilemmas such as washing her hair or [and not being an option] doing the grocery shopping. Whereas I have time for both. But I'm guessing nobody would be enthralled by posts on either subject.

I decided to humour her. Because I love her. Not because there's a hope in hell that she'll respond by posting something new on her blog. Though where's the harm in hoping? I might not post every day, but I'll try for at least every other day, until the well runs dry. Which shouldn't take too long.

So, what subject does the normal Irishwoman, walking down O'Connell Street, love to talk about and find endlessly entertaining?

Why, the weather, of course.

If you said "The weather" before you read those words, you may go to the top of the class!

While the rest of the country was busy shoveling white fluffy stuff in the last few weeks, we've been shoveling [while shivering] brown stuff. Dirt. Soil. Found in a garden. Used to grow things. Like vegetables. Because, in spite of all appearances, we believe Spring will come!

We moved here nine years ago and it's taken me that long, and many unsuccessful attempts at growing tomatoes, to get it through my head that, just because Spring and Summer are the time to plant a garden up north, the same is not true down here. So in December, I bought a couple of tomato seedlings and boldly planted them, and behold! They grew! And produced beautiful, plump, blemish-free, green tomatoes, which, by now should be ripe and juicy and red, if the winter from hell hadn't intervened. My beautiful, blemish-free, going-to-be-so-tasty, best-ever tomatoes perished on the vine, in spite of all the mollycoddling, the shrouds of old blankets, and teepees of old sheets we erected around them to protect them from Old Man Frosty Winter. There were just too many really cold nights. Sigh.

Duly chastened, we modified our expectations, and planted rows of peas.

And radishes, broccoli, beets, carrots and lettuce for good measure.

The Bean did the donkey work and I did the fun stuff---poking holes, dropping in seeds, covering them up. Then off he went to school for the week and I set to watering,traipsing back and forth from the house to the vegetable patch, wobbling unsteadily under the weight of two heavy watering cans. To check on the babies and make sure they weren't thirsty. Normally we'd have water available right there, but the freeze cracked our pump so, until it got fixed, traipsing, wobbling and sloshing were the order of the day. Mercifully, we had several rainy days [and nights.] And now the pump is fixed, traipsing over.

Days to germination: 4-7, the radish seed packet proclaimed. Based on my own personal research, I'd have to say they're lying. Or maybe the seeds are bashful about peeping up when there's a mad Irishwoman bending over them five times a day, muttering, cajoling, willing them to pop. It seemed like forever before the first sliver of green poked up through the dirt. But they gathered courage when it became apparent that the mad Irishwoman was harmless, if a bit on the over-eager side. You'd think it was magic, I was so excited! You certainly wouldn't have believed I came from farmers; or that I've done this before, or that my mother had two green thumbs and a full set of green toes; or that the Bean only has to look at a seed and it coyly sprouts, or that all his siblings grow gardens too.

It's always magic.

Another weekend came, and with it the scholar, who planted parsley, chives and cilantro, just so those sweet little peas and radishes wouldn't be lonesome. My list for this week includes a trip to the garden store for a few more tomato seedlings. To have another shot at home grown tomatoes. But they'll be mollycoddled in pots until this crazy winter scarpers on out of here, back to wherever it came from.

Meanwhile, it's not as warm yet as it normally is in March, but the sun is shining and there's a sporting chance we might salvage a few typical "Wintering in Florida" weeks out of the tail end of the season. But even if we do, there'll be no sightings of this Irishwoman in a bikini!


Stomper Girl said...

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to the cold of winter! Summer is not my favourite season, despite the vegetables.

Thimbleanna said...

"Mollycoddling" hahahaha! I'm thinking mollycoddling in my garden is a whole different animal from mollycoddling in your garden! Those little seedlings look very happy in the cold sun. And...Yay! You're back!!!

thailandchani said...

And we scraped frost off our windshields this morning in Northern California! :)


Ali Honey said...

It makes me realise we take our gardening for granted......I should never do that. your wee plants look very promising.

I am so delighted to know that you do some coddling Molly. You have all the credentials to be an expert at that.

Now a crazy idea from me. Could you plant your tomatoes in some sort of large container and move them inside at night or when temperatures drop? We have found that plants grown in containers where the sun warms the sides grow really fast compared with thos in the ground; the side painted black or blue also absorb more heat - on the container that is, not you.

StitchinByTheLake said...

I so badly wanted to have a garden this year but since we will be away from home from June 5-Oct. 1 that's not happening! However, I'm thinking I might take a few pots with me and plant some tomatoes in them when we get to the mission in southern Louisiana. I could maybe have a mini garden. :) blessings, marlene

riseoutofme said...

Ah Molly dear ... you are indeed a glate girl!

Quite envious at the sight of your peas sprouting ... you must have inherited one of the green digits ... You got everything didn't you?? Its not fair really. Sigh.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Radishes look healthy ! It must be the chivvying/positive attention you gave them .
Here in the frozen North , we'll have to wait a while yet but eventually container-grown tomatoes will fill up every available space . They're just so much nicer than any shop ones . And Chervil for Husband who loves it sprinkled over chicken soup .
The rest is a bit hit and miss but I enjoy trying .
Sonata .

Percy Bisque Silley said...

"A sporting chance" is a Fine Phrase indeed? Art thou silly then?

And long have I wondered if the Bonko Bird winters in Florida...

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I must protest! Yes I must! I came to your blog after googling something but was totally misled! There is no picture of an "irishwoman in a bikini".

Your vegetables are rather photogenic though. It almost made me want to try gardening .......but thankfully, apathy prevailed.

persiflage said...

What a wonderful photo of the sky. My view of the sky always has power lines in it.
Your seedlings are very impressive! They look wonderfully healthy.
Here we are enjoying the first signs of coolness, after such a hot summer, and in Australia it has been raing VERY hard.

Pauline said...

it will be a few weeks before green thumbs sprout here but oh! the sight of those radishes is like poetry!

Anonymous said...

I too check my newly planted seeds regularly...ridiculous? Maybe. But, you just NEVER know...

Meggie said...

I send love & growth towards your garden. I hope I do not blight any of it, with my thoughts. My dismal attempts all ended in sadness- even radishes!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Gardens are inherently magic; it's the nature of things.

There must be a place for fairies and sprouty sprites to play and dance in. You've made a lovely garden, and the photos are good; as always.

Well done!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore