More than one poet has bemoaned the quick passage of time, and more than one gardener has observed that it is not only lovers who have reason to join in that plaint. Just this weekend, another blogger at Hoe and Shovel titled a post, "The Garden Waits for No Man," to which I can only say, Right on, dude.
So, having been away two weeks of the past four (as anyone who’s been reading here already knows), I am BEHIND. This weekend, I vowed to catch at least part of the way up. (Now, if that’s not an awkward phrase, I don’t know what is. Oh yes, I do. Ask, and I might tell. Anyone else out there have a favorite awkward phrase?)
I’d prepped some of the beds last fall, but not all. On Saturday, between having my mother-in-law to brunch, going to a party for a friend who just earned her MA in plant pathology (more on that later), and an evening movie with another friend (whose parents, horror of horrors, have never seen Star Wars, so she and her husband are rectifying that wrong), I somehow managed to dig amendments into one four-by-four plot and even get potatoes planted. When they sprout, I’ll push the soil around those little hollows over them.
Sunday was not so easy. Sunday I tackled the worst of the worst, the heaviest, most densely packed, least yielding, ugliest, meanest plot of them all. It took me four hours. As I left the house in my rain jacket to get started, I glanced at the grey clouds and said to my son, "When do you think it’s going to start raining?"
"It’s not going to rain."
"Ah, you’re wrong there, J., because it surely will someday."
About fifteen minutes after I went out, I felt the first drops. An hour later, I was wheeling a barrow full of horrible clayey earth towards a dumping spot and passed J., lifting weights in the yard.
"Not gonna rain, huh?"
"Huh." I struggled on, not having breath for more.
I suspect even he would have conceded that it was raining, had he stayed out as long as I did. When I finally raked the top-soil smooth, put my tools away and staggered inside, my shoes were so muddy I didn’t want to defile even our porch with them, but left them outside, and my toes were so cold they stayed purple and white until nearly the end of my bath.
But the alley plots were ready plant.