The next gardening season lifts spirits – Agweek

Warmer and drier days are coming and with them the gardening season.

It’s one of the things I’ve clung to to help me through the ice, snow, rain, hail and wind that has been the reality of the last two weeks of life on the northern plains.

Just as I’m ready to put the hoes away in October, I can’t wait to get them back in May. This year, like others, I will use them to weed between many rows, because this year too our garden will be quite large and contain a variety of vegetables and fruits.

Although sometimes during gardening season, when my husband, Brian, and I are overwhelmed with the amount of hoeing and rotovage that needs to be done, I dream of not planting a garden the following year and buying rather our fruits and vegetables at a farmer’s market, that doesn’t happen.

Instead, more often than not, I end up buying the same amount of seeds, if not more, the next gardening season as the current season, and I usually try new crop varieties and add a few new crops.

Ann Bailey Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

This year, our seed order consists of 17 seed packets consisting of bush beans, three varieties of squash, beets, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, snow peas, three varieties of cantaloupes and two varieties of watermelons.

I also ordered parsnips and Brussels sprouts, two vegetables we have never grown before. We like to eat both and thought we might try breeding them. Experimenting, as gardeners know, is a fun part of the hobby and the only expense I will run into if mine fails is the cost of a few packets of seeds.

Our garden will also include peppers, tomatoes, sweet corn and potatoes. We will buy peppers and tomato plants as well as sweet corn and potato seeds from a local garden center.

Besides vegetables and fruits, I have also included in my seed catalog order some zinnias, sunflowers and gladioli which I can cut and use in arrangements and marigolds which I will plant on an island in one of our courses.

In addition to sowing the vegetable, fruit and flower seeds, I am also looking forward to installing evergreen trees and a flower bed between our front yard and our driveway to the garage.

Last fall, we had the lilac bushes that had been planted there over 100 years ago removed because they were overrun with noxious trees. Every year we uprooted and felled the trees that grew in the middle of the lilac hedge, and every year they grew back, along with many brothers and sisters.

We finally decided the best course of action was to get rid of all the mess, so we hired a local excavator company to bulldoze it. I look forward to the new look, which will bring color for three seasons of the year. At the same time, evergreen trees that will be planted on either side of the garden will add beauty to the yard in winter and be a place for birds to build their nests in spring.

Meanwhile, there are still plenty of other lilac bushes on our farm, so I’m not shedding tears over the ones that have gone missing. At this point in my life, I prefer low maintenance and have spent far too many hours being attacked by nettles while sweating among the trees we were uprooting or felling to mourn the loss of the lilacs.

Although it seems next to impossible given the current outward appearance, gardening season is right around the corner and it sparks new life in me. I look forward to growing up.

Ann Bailey lives on a farm near Larimore, ND that has been in her family since 1911. You can reach her at 218-779-8093 or [email protected]

Terri S. Tomasini