Monday, March 9, 2009

Gardening, Sailing and Sugar

Garden dreaming, anyone? It's March, and in our house we have been dreaming of this year's garden since January. The unfair part is that last week, with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, we still were unable to plant anything as the ground was still frozen hard. Life in the Midwest does teach patience and perseverance. (I try to remember this when they are all complaining about missing the ocean and I am trying not to agree with them.) My daughter has been cultivating seedlings in her sunny bedroom since Christmas, when they each were given a baby Christmas tree in a pot. She began tomatoes, herbs and sunflowers shortly after that. They are doing very well, almost as nicely as mine which I started three days ago and are still in the dirt stage.

We did not make the cut for the island reef job. After a little disappointment, we were able to move on to our next project(s); camping and taking sailing lessons this summer and making the best square foot garden ever. We are wondering whether to add to our raised bed dirt that has sunk over the last three years, or dig up the weed cloth underneath and allow the roots to go deeper. Any advice from those who have tried the raised bed/weedcloth below option? It has been lovely having no weeds for the past few years, but nothing is thriving like it did before. I wonder if there is enough depth for proper root structure. Then again, my tomato plants did almost nothing last year either, and they were in the ground.

To help while away the time until I can dig and plant, I am reading Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" a must-read I kept forgetting to read, but will now harp upon until everyone I know has read it. There are so many pages I could quote from it that I can hardly choose, but it is the book of the moment, meeting the needs of our food-impoverished society as things stand now in the U.S. Go find it at the library, buy it, borrow it, read it, your life will be richer, the world will be a better place.

Along with food-consciousness has come sugar awareness, back again from the drawer I had stuffed its ugly self into. It really was time to bring it back out. Girl Scout cookie week notwithstanding, (rather hypocritical of me, since we've eaten all of the thin mints), this stuff is bad for me. I had three excellent reminders of just how bad over the weekend. This is reminder number four, so if three times is a charm, four will be a promise not to forget. The stuff makes me itch, swells my joints and makes me a grumpier person. "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" was one of my reminders, another was a friend who admitted that she used to yell, but she has not done so for a year now. When I asked her what her secret was, she answered, to my amazement; "no more sugar." Since that came less than half an hour after my research on my own health condition revealed I should cut out all refined sugar (something I already know), it had the impact of an oracle. Gosh am I glad the thin mints are gone!


  1. The Thin Mints and Samoas have wreaked havoc on our bodies here, too. They are almost gone, thank heavens!

    So sorry on the island reef job... I was hoping you would get it. I loved your audition tape that I saw online!

  2. I unfortunately do not have any experience with raised beds but the lady at this blog -- -- probably could tell you more. I would say that a weed cloth isn't necessary anymore. But you also may need to add more composted material to your bed.

    Your seedling dieing may be what she talks about here -- -- might be worth a look anyway =)

    good luck!

  3. I also love animal veg miracle but loved almost more the omnivores dilema, pretty long so I got it on cd and listened to it as I was painting the basement.
    Good luck on the gardening! We are getting the bug here too. I sent off my $200 seed order last week :) I guess it wasn't quite all mine but way too much of it :)

  4. Why haven't I happened upon your blog before this? Iowa, travel, raised bed gardening--what a great combo. Can't wait to read more.

  5. All gone GSCs, except the Shortbread, but it is as easy as anything to resist those, no chocolate involved!
    Thanks for your encouragement, Tammy! It would have been fun, but then again, my whole summer harvest would have been compromised!

  6. Thank you, Anne! I will check out these websites pronto. I suspect you may be right about the weed cloth, it will most likely go before I transplant those seedlings (they will survive...)

  7. Hi Michelle,

    Ah, seed orders! What could possibly speak more of faith and optimism than ordering seeds in January when everything looks dead and snow-covered?

    Spring is coming, the birds were singing this morning, kind of shivery sounding, but singing they were!

  8. Wheelchair Mama,

    Thanks for dropping in! I just had a peek at your profile, now I'll have to read your blog; a sister go-with-your-heart-not-someone-else's-intellect, good for us! More on your blog later!


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