The First Day

I have journaled about gardening and subsequent life endeavors ever since I managed an organic tomato and grape farm in the Rattlesnake Valley in Missoula, Montana. In journaling I recorded things I would likely forget like…start beets earlier next year or don’t ever plant anything in the southwest corner of the garden because my lame neighbor’s unruly, weedy, eyesoreish tree will completely block the sun by June…that kind of stuff.

A blog seems much more permanent and less likely to be left in the arugula row during an April deluge. Although those crinkled, barely readable pages offer nostalgia, really the whole point is for the information to be available the following year. And who doesn’t love to save paper?

Every year I can’t wait for this day. The first day I get to dig in the dirt, count worms and hope for a great tomato year. It is exciting and disappointing–I always wish I had done something differently the year before.

Yesterday I dug and weeded (why is that the first spring green in Montana is dandelions?). Today I spread my magic compost and plant Seeds of Change Butterking Lettuce, High Mowing Seeds High Mowing Mesculin Mix, Botanical Interests Arugula Mediterranean Rocket Salad, Seeds of Change Rouge D’hiver Lettuce, High Mowing Seeds Mammoth Melting Sugar Snow Peas, Seeds of Change Oregon Giant Snow Pea, and High Mowing Seeds Bull’s Blood Beets. These are all new varieties for me. I have to admit I am majorly influenced by a plant that references the french language or the rich color of blood. yum.

Good soil this year but not as many worms as I’d like>

2 Responses to The First Day

  1. sarah says:

    hey nici – tell me this – the dirt in my backyard is totally wet right now because we’ve been having so much rain. I wanted to pull weeds the other day (it is COVERED with green vines and yellow flowers – they are pretty, but I really want to plant something, or at least be able to walk around back there). BUT, when I tried to pull up the weeds, it pulled up HUGE CHUNKS of the dirt with it. we just dont really have that much dirt, and it made me feel weird to pull out that much of the dirt – the yard will have a bunch of holes if i continue. what do you suggest?
    [[like how i’m turning your comment section into an “ask the gardener” column?]]

  2. Hi Sarah,
    Wait until it dries out a bit. You are right to feel strange pulling out that much dirt. It is also really hard on the soil structure to be messed with when it is mud. Mud compacts too easily and can upset your soil microbial activity and health.

    The perfect time to weed is when the soil is damp and well drained. Pulling those puppies out is as satisfying as popping a zit or peeling an orange in one piece.

    I don’t mind ask the gardener at all. love love.