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Mentally, I wasn’t ready to plant again, but the seed garlic arrived and had to go in. Garlic needs a few weeks to get a start. Then it goes dormant over the winter and comes up in the spring! I’ve never grown it before, so, like so many other things, this will be another experiment.

I planted the garlic on Monday and today went to take a few pictures and cover the garlic. It is really cold this week, but will mellow out again next week; so I decided to cover the garlic to keep it warmer for a few days.

Good morning! Yes, that is snow on the ground.

And here’s our dead dead garden.

Today I cleaned up the carrots. I canned carrots last year and used them in stews and roasts. But the fact is, fresh garden carrots are just plain best. We didn’t have as many as last year anyway, so I got a tip from my friend Yvonne on how to keep them fresh. Cut the greens off the top, wash them well, dry them well and pack them in ziploc bags with some paper towels to soak up excess moisture. We’ll see how long they keep, but I think we’ll probably eat them all before they have a chance to go bad.

Ideally, you could set them outside for a few minutes in the hot prairie wind, but it was overcast and cold, so I used technology.

By the way, anyone who thinks a “leggy” carrot is weird has never eaten a homegrown, garden carrot — it’s very common. Warning: liberal propaganda ahead — We have been taught to believe what we find in the grocery story is normal and everything else is inferior or a malformed attempt at perfection. Boooo hegemony! Whew, glad I got that out of my system.

Ready to eat in my crisper drawer!


This past week, we did a lot of weeding, planted a second round of lettuce, beets, beans, and peas, and dealt with a seriously ill child, including making 1 and a half round trips (1 hour each way) to the ER. No fun, a lot of stress, but hopefully we’re out of the woods for a while, and the big umbrella of life that covers children, husband, garden, friends, family, community, and home will be normal for a while. I celebrated our return to normal by switching out our winter bedding for the lighter summer bedspread. What? That’s not celebrating? Well then why does it make me so happy?!

This week has been exhausting. But, for all intents and purposes, the garden is IN!!! There are a few things will get a second round of planting (i.e. lettuce, beets, corn), and a few that go in later (sweet potatoes, eggplant), and some afterthoughts that I’m not real concerned about happening one way or the other. It feels VERY GOOD to have it done.

Thank you, thank you, Beth Andrys! She has allowed me to bring the kids over for daycare everyday the past week! Without question, not even half as much would be in now, if not for her amazing care. And, the kids love it there, so it sure makes it easy on me to leave.

Total for Wednesday and Friday is 49 tomato plants, 92 peppers, and 8 melon hills. The peppers have a bit of a story… I dug 35 holes and put 24 peppers in. Then I decided those aphid-eaten leftovers were definitely not worth the effort I was putting into them, AND Jordan wanted me to space the rows further apart so he could till between them. So, I filled all the holes and REDUG (not sure about that term) the holes — actually, Linda did most of the digging — and put 68 new pepper plants in, nice healthy ones this time, purchased at Kusler’s Greenhouse, here in Kulm. All 68 holes were dug and peppers planted yesterday.┬áThis is me about 1/2 way through, cursing silently (that’s what that funny smile is):

I picked the kids up from daycare and still had about 20 left. The good news is, kids pass the time pretty happily when they are surrounded by dirt and machinery.

In the first pic, you can see they were riding the 4-wheeler, which Jordan hooked up to the garden trailer yesterday. Grandpa Bill made the trailer for us last year from an old pick-up bed, and it has been very useful getting our tools back and forth! Here’s a better look:

Tomatoes went in well. I read in a few places that tomatoes like lots of calcium, and planting eggshells right with the plant is a great way to give them that extra calcium. A friend of ours heard me talk about the idea, so she saved me 15 dozen eggshells from a catering job she did! So wonderful, and it was just enough to put a handful in with each plant.

And we have more newbies coming up! Our first cucumber, kale, wheat, barley, and popcorn! Jordan planted the last three only 5 days prior, if you recall. All that careful attention pays off, boys and girls.

If you ever wondered what a corn plant looks like right when it splits through the soil, here it is, with my thumb for comparison:

A curled shoot, spiking through the ground. It will unfurl into the first leaf, also called the flag leaf.

And, I almost forgot to mention my big discovery. During all my digging, I unearthed something. This giant rock! The 4-foot yard stick is there for size comparison (I don’t know why it is a 4-foot yard stick… or why someone would make that).

Every time my shovel hit rock I would move over a little and try again to see if I could get to the outside of it and leverage it out. Despite the heft you would assume latent in my 5 foot 1 inch frame, I soon realized that even if I dug deep enough to get under it, I could not lift it out. So, I had to abandon the hole and move on. For a very brief moment early on, I let myself imagine it was a real treasure chest! It was an exciting moment!

Now we get a very short breather before we have to start weeding like mad.

Yesterday I planted the leafy greens section of the garden. 2 10 foot rows of iceberg, 2 romaine, 1 spinach, 1 tat soi, 1 bok choy, and 1 kale. I also marked off a second section so I can repeat the whole process in about 2 weeks, because I’m just a glutton for punishment I guess (or fresh lettuce salads!). I have been thinking about the delicious fresh salads we had last year, a spinach and beet salad with orange dressing in particular. I can’t wait!

Josh and Lynda planted 99 potato plants today before the expected rain tonight. We put in 70 Pontiac red and 29 Yukon gold, roughly. I think next week will be time for peas?

I also had a welding lesson from Grandpa Bill. I’d never seen welding done, and he is a very good welder. He attached a metal handle/stick to a rake head that had come off its wooden handle (bc they ALWAYS do). I’m trying to rig up a device to mark the rows instead of running twine down every row to make sure they’re straight.

This works to make the rows evenly spaced, but it doesn’t guarantee they’ll be straight. I had to adjust a few rows of potatoes that were bowed in the middle from using my new rake method. We’ll see how helpful it actually ends up being.

Unfortunately I did not have my camera, because it would have been a great pic, but we finished the welding lesson by all standing outside in our welding helmets and staring at the sun. Why not?

Seeing the first sprouts from my little starters is so exciting. It doesn’t feel like planting time yet because it’s still cool out most days, yet there they are. At first, they are prayerful, bowed over with folded hands, then, in what feels like minutes, their hands go up and two little green leaves seem to be giving you that peaceful newborn baby stare. I see potential for great things!!

Leo, of course, quickly pulled two sprouts, but I think I saved at least one. And, though we’ve had all but 1 or 2 of the tomatoes germinate, none of the cherry bell peppers have sprouted yet.

I also started the rest of our peppers today — red knight, apple peppers, banana/wax, early jalepeno, and some jalepeno seeds we saved from last year.

Today I started the first seeds of this season. I can’t imagine I’ll ever start this early again. This year, North Dakota has had a mild winter, like most of the northern US.

I planted 18 Roma tomatoes, 18 Millet’s Dakota, 9 fox cherry, 9 large red cherry peppers, and 9 tomatillos. I’d better label them like NOW, as I’m pretty sure I’ve already forgotten which is which. Makes for a fun little surprise though, eh?

But, I should give credit where credit is due; Alice and Dawson were the ones who dropped the seeds in the holes, and quite expertly at that. They can be so careful when they want to be!

Right now, the seedlings are residing in our bedroom. We have a fantastic three-seasons room with windows surrounding it on 3 sides, but it’s still a bit too cold at night, and it has ancient electric wiring, so we don’t feel good about running a heater in there. Until temps are more consistent, the seedlings will happily share a room with us.

Next week, I’ll start the rest of the peppers.