Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Springtime in the Rockies

Life in Colorado has unique qualities. After a winter of very little snow overall, spring arrived and we suddenly received 47" of snow. It didn't all pile up because in between storms the temperatures would rebound into the upper 60s and low 70s.

Then we have times like what we are going through yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Yesterday was a hot day in the 80s. Today is a transition day in the 60s. Later is forecast for thunder and rain. By tomorrow we will be shoveling out of 3 to 7 inches of snow. We have four seasons here, but sometimes we have them all in one day.

Last year we were into summer by now and I lost the chance to properly plant those veggies that need cold weather. So this year I made a point of getting out to plant those seeds in March. Then the weather got unusually cold. Some of the seeds have survived, others have not. So I must do a little replanting.

I am planting extra peas this year because the peas rarely make it into the house. I tend to eat them right there in the garden. Many of the strawberries go the same way.

For the last few years my spring planting included many veggies for my mother. She passed away last August, so this year I need to rethink much of what I will grow. I don't care for beets and parsley, so I don't need to grow those this year. I use a lot of onions, so more of my garden space will be given over to them.

I hope that the strawberries and raspberries will be even more plentiful than last year. I discovered the
amazing power of red berries to reduce my blood sugar. I also discovered that they taste so much better than anything I can purchase in the store since they are able to ripen entirely on the vine and become naturally sweet and delicious.

Already I must make plans to thin lettuce, but it will have to wait until after the next snow storm.

After all it is that fickle Springtime in the Rockies.

Monday, April 8, 2013

G -- The Garden Girls

For the first time since I was a toddler, my next door neighbor is a friend of mine. In the intervening
years neighbors mostly seemed to be people who couldn't understand why I didn't want to listen to their music at three in the morning or their loud domestic squabbles in the night.

My current neighbor is a dear and embodies the term neighbor very nicely. We are both writers, which gives us a lot in common, but our bonding has really occurred over gardening. Each spring, after a winter spent indoors and communicating largely by email and Facebook, we renew our friendship as be clean our yards, plant our gardens, and trade seeds.

This is made much easier by the fact that we live in a mobile home park and are therefore very close in proximity with one another unless I am working out in the "north 40," as I call the far northern end of my estate.

While digging and weeding we catch up on family.  We stop and chat with the members of our mobile home community as they walk by. Most of them are also avid, if not rabid, gardeners themselves. Many of our relationships have been built around gardening and urban farming.

As the season progresses we will trade watering when out of town and share food as harvest time comes along. My raspberry patch produces far more than I can eat myself, so I happily share them with my neighbor.

We even chase the deer out of each others' garden. If that's not neighborliness and friendship, I don't know what is.