As we finally get used to writing 2021 on checks and elsewhere, we need to remember to start writing 2022!
In fact, I remember the year better, then the day of the week.
I always remember Mondays and Thursdays because that’s when I play in my softball league.
On Wednesdays I try to write these columns and on weekends I visit family.
Either way, decades seem to go by like years, once you turn 60. Perhaps the biggest downside of aging is the inevitable death of friends and family.
Cherish the old people in your life, for no one is immortal and you will miss them sooner or later.
January is a good time to assess what has worked and what has not worked in our gardens this year. It’s also a good time to think about future plans.
One of my favorite sayings is “A society grows well, when old people plant trees in whose shade they will never stand.”
I decide to do just that this spring and hope one day my grandchildren will stand in that shadow and think of me.
The past two years have been filled with anxiety fueled by COVID and I fear 2022 may not be looking much better in that regard.
I expect people to spend more time gardening at home and less time in bars, restaurants, airports, and other crowded public places. In general, this is a good thing!
The mental, physical and emotional rewards of gardening are well documented. It offers challenges for all skill levels, from beginner to more experienced. I find it amusing to see highly talented, highly paid and professional executives struggling to grow a crop of tomatoes for the first time!
Gardening can be a stimulating and humbling experience and sometimes we all need to be challenged and humbled.
I had a great garden in 2021, thanks to heavy rain, warm temperatures and lots of free time to get things done in a timely manner.
My eight “Big Beef” tomatoes performed as well as they always do. I also planted two “Sweet 100” cherry tomatoes in a large pot which kept me well stocked until frost. Next year I would like to find an earlier cherry tomato that is more suitable for container growing than ‘Sweet 100’ or ‘Sungold’, my two favorite varieties.
Suggestions are welcome! Free seeds are even more welcome!
I had great onions, garlic, beans, asparagus, peppers, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers and winter squash, but the voles ate most of my potatoes.
I planted beets and carrots too late to get a substantial yield. I mulched them with four inches of straw in November, before heading south and hopefully they can survive the winter and welcome me with fresh carrots and beets in April!
I’ve learned that it’s possible to have a non-stop harvest of green onions all summer long, just by planting store-bought green onions in a sunny planter in April or May and cutting the stems off. need. In a week or two, new top growth will replace what you cut.
This year I think I’ll give up the potatoes for a change and maybe plant some sweet corn.
Sweet corn takes up a lot of space, but it’s one of my favorite veggies. I can buy all the sweet corn I want in the local markets, but the varieties they offer these days are mostly ‘super sweet’ types that retain their sweet flavor for weeks after harvest, but they have a crunchy texture that I don’t like as much as some older and more tender varieties.
Almost 20 years ago, when I moved to my cabin on a hill in Conesville, I built the raised bed frames for my garden from rough one inch by eight inch green hemlock planks, purchased from the Cooksburg sawmill on route 145.
I thought they might outlive me at the time, but they didn’t.
This untreated lumber has lasted all this time and in retrospect if I had bought and used two inch by eight inch boards they might still be functional! I could remake the frames this year and I’m pretty sure the beds will outlive me this time around.
I plan to set up a “waterer” which should allow me to capture about 250 gallons of water.
Currently I have three rain barrels that only provide about 100 gallons and that is not enough to water my garden in a dry summer.
I will attach a hose to the waterer that will allow easy watering.
Planting and nurturing a garden creates a feeling of annual renewal which is not only a learning experience, but also a spiritual boost.
We can all use a spiritual boost in these troubled times.