Hal's Hat

Hal's Hat

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A cold spring but verdant!

Easter is this weekend: while I'm don't celebrate Easter as such, I do present it for the holiday it is. It is meant to celebrate rebirth of the son, the sun, the land, the green.... there is a facebook picture going around showing Ishtar and correcting their perception of an Easter that celebrates only the Christian holiday. I appreciate this but it's also, in its own way, incorrect. Easter is, in northern European countries, based on Oestara. Oestara is alternately the goddess figure of spring and the pagan/ Wiccan/ proto-Christian celebration of spring itself. Usually it is on the Vernal Equinox (last week of course) because the date was based on a celestial occurrence that could be noted from year to year. I celebrate the equinox with Easter baskets, decorated eggs, lots of yummy food and too much frenzied gardening! Don't you??
According to Karen Pendleton, down the road of all the asparagus fame, we are at least two weeks behind growing schedule! I bought and am installing floating row covers for my vegetable patch. I grow in raised beds and large trees encroaching on my space. So we push it. And I especially love early season cold/ cole crops. This means I grow lots of lettuce, spinach, arugula, and kale. I'm finally to the point where I think my soil is friable (loose, rich) enough to grow carrots. My kids are absolutely in love with snow peas and sugar snaps so I've added lots of those in their honor!
from michaelweishan.com
Floating row covers are invaluable around here. Many people use them to keep pests out, as they are permeable, allowing air and water to move through. But I'm using them to get the soil warmed up sooner. Since I'm putting them on seeds that have yet to germinate, I'm laying it directly on soil. I'll suspend them a bit when the seedlings emerge.

Herb Update:
This season, I'm growing calendula again. Many of my supposedly annual calendula is still alive and green. Well. Huh. I'm planting more since my calendula oil was such a success last year. Golden yellow/orange and vibrant. I didn't dry my blooms, even though reputable sources say "dry the blooms completely!" (Mountain Rose Herbs blog). Other reputable sources (Susun Weed) simply say, eh, dry 'em a bit. I did that. I let them sit for 6-8 hours. It's oil.... nothing to be taken internally.
I have a HUGE amount of medicinal yarrow this year. As in- want a transplant?? Give me a holler, hit me up. I'll say yes. It's a lot. I've got it in front in multiple places and a large amount in a vegetable bed that must be transplanted soon!
I'm sowing St. John's Wort seeds this next week with a new helper of mine. She is a mom of two and on her own journey- and she'd like to learn about herbs. So I'm getting her to come explore with me: we are going to plant StJW, wildcraft nettles in a few weeks, transplant echinacea and yarrow. She's going to start learning about infusions, decoctions, infused oils and tinctures (vinegar, alcohol, glycerine). Doesn't that sound fun? Really- this is giving lots of discipline to personally "get it together". Organize my herbal bookshelves, make up a syllabus and ways to present the information effectively. I'm a natural teacher but an employed landscape designer, so this is wonderful for me!
On another note: here is the powerpoint from the presentation I did at the Flower, Lawn and Garden show in KC last week. Use it as a guide to basic landscape design- within your theme or not! Please feel free to contact me if you have landscape/ design questions! Listen to me live this Saturday on Jeremy Taylor's "About the House" radio show, AM 1320.

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