Gardening and fireflies

Organic garden — the last weekend in June

And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can’t sustain the part.

(link: Fireflies in the Garden by Robert Frost)

Some evenings, as the sun sets, I water the garden. A two-gallon water can is used and one can of water per garden box seems to be sufficient. The other night while I watered the garden in the evening, the fireflies appeared to come up from the ground and surround me; almost as if the water droplets transformed upon impact and rose into the gathering darkness as luminous creatures. Within an hour or two I could see their light in the tallest oaks and pines surrounding the cottage. But, alas, like Robert Frost offers “they can’t sustain the part” of the stars above.

Like twilight time, the garden is transitioning. The snap peas began to wither a few days ago. I can’t tell if it is due to the lack of rain or the peas have passed their season of growth. I’ll plant kale and shard to replace the pea plants. So far the most produce comes from the chili pepper plant and the lettuce. The zucchini and squash are disappointing. It appears the leaves have some kind of mold; yielding only four vegetables. It’s too early to tell, but it looks like the tomato plants will yield well this year.

the garden project: late april

April 2010

New feet within my garden go,
New fingers stir the sod;
A troubadour upon the elm
Betrays the solitude.
—Emily Dickinson, “The Garden”

Unlike the poem, the troubadour is a male cardinal and the tree is an red oak. And no, I didn’t color coordinate the bird and tree. Actual bird and tree reside on or near the location of the garden. A cardinal couple made their home east of the garden project and routinely perch on a lower limb of the red oak tree and comment on my gardening progress.

At this point, all six garden boxes are built, soil turned, topsoil added and plants planted. Plants yet to plant include chard and kale and a couple blueberry bushes. The blueberry bushes will go in the northwest corner.

The garden receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day, but not until after noon. On an early morning in late April the sunlight provides dappled shadows on the garden. By May, the surrounding trees are in full green dress and the garden remains in full shade until noon.

The garden project begins

Mid April Garden

The last couple of years the garden project goals have been simple: spend less than $100 on garden supplies (seeds, plants, etc.), use native or found materials (like creek stones or fallen, dead wood from local trees to make garden borders) and avoid using pesticides or herbicides (with the exception of natural, organic pesticides like cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon & the like).

This year I took the liberty to construct garden boxes with the goal of making raised bed/container gardens. The garden boxes are made from 2″x6″ pine boards and measure four feet square.

I began the garden project in April.

I’m using a variety of sources to put together this year’s garden project. But the primary gardening strategy handbooks I use include Trowel & Error by Sharon Lovejoy and The New Self-sufficient Gardener by John Seymour.