Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In the Garden—Introduction to My Garden

This is a nice welcome after the Spring Equinox: Moscow has turned into a winter wonderland. We're used to snow this time of year in these parts, but I hadn't quite expected this. It snows fairly frequently, but most days it melts within a few hours. It certainly doesn't accumulate into inches. Until today.

My bulbs, my young tulip and daffodil shoots don't seem to mind the snow. All is well.

I live in a rented house with a backyard. I spent most of last summer in Spain, so I didn't do a lot of gardening. Now that I officially know I'll be spending the summer here in Moscow, I am excitedly planning the garden I'll be able to tend.

I've got two areas (or three, depending on how you count) I plan on cultivating. One is a south-facing border on my house. The soil is very poor, and last year everything I planted just dried up, despite being well-watered. In the fall, I mixed potting soil, coffee grounds, and bulb fertilizer into the soil, in the hopes of improving things. I planted a variety of tulips and a couple species of daffodil. The site also spent at least half the winter covered with leaves and branches. The tulips and daffodils are sprouting, glorious reddish green shoots I cheer on every time I pass. In the late spring or early summer, when the bulbs go dormant, I'll dig them out and store them. Then I can use that space for vegetables and herbs.

This border wraps around to the west-facing wall. A lemon balm, some weedy flowers, and something with lantern-like seed pods grow there, and have since I moved in. I've left that area relatively undisturbed, except that our jack-o-lanterns have been decomposing there over the winter, and I topped the area with leaves. I'm hoping we'll grow pumpkins. I've had that happen before, where squashes left to compost have sprouted the next season. I'll probably only minimally plant this area.

The final area is a small rectangle behind the shed, bordered by blocks, west- and south-facing. It's mostly overgrown with weeds. I haven't touched it. It looks like it may once have been an herb garden.

There, that introduces you to my gardening space. Since winter is still fiercely hanging onto Idaho, there's not a lot to report, so I'll wait until next week to tell you what I'm thinking of planting and why.

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