My garden: Essentially an elaborate elm seed pod catchment system

These papery little pods are elm seeds. They are my nemesis.

IMG_20150529_182745The other day, I was outside when there was a gust of wind and I felt like it was snowing. They were everywhere, including in my hair and down my shirt. I found some on the range hood of my stove the other day. Every time someone goes in or out, more get tracked into the house. They’re in my bed, in my shower (damp of course), and obviously all over all my plants.

I try to pretend they’re some kind of mulch, except they’re really a mulch that turns into WEEDS, which is the worst kind of mulch. Evil mulch. (I know they’re not really weeds, but the way they grow post-seed-pod-snowstorm, they basically are.)

I am not normally the sort of person who hates trees*, but I hate these ones. There are two on our boulevard right in front of our house and one more in a neighbour’s back yard. If something happens to them, it wasn’t me.**

*I was trying to think of someone who IS the kind of person who hates trees, and the only example I could think of was Hexxus – voiced by Tim Curry! – from Fern Gully. Also maybe someone with allergies I guess?

**YES IT WAS.

The first edibles – May 16, 2015

A couple days ago, we had our first salad from the garden, supplemented by a handful of spinach leaves from the grocery-store clamshell. I planted this bed back in a warm spell in March, choosing cold-tolerant varieties and figuring I’d get something to eat as soon as the weather made it happen. More than six weeks later, I harvested the first spicy arugula, mizuna and kale leaves.

That first salad of the year always feels like such a major victory. What are the first things you eat out of the garden in the spring?

Just Start-ing

I wrote this, about a month ago, on my old blog – which is why I mentioned the ground being still frozen. It’s not frozen now!

Just Start. That will be the name of my self-help book, when I get around to writing it. In about. oh, fifteen years.

At this time of year, I’m so excited to be out in the garden and to have things to do. The beds are almost all thawed (although the ground is still frozen, in the shade); the snow is melted; it’s warm enough to be outside in just a thin hoodie. But at the same time, the tasks feel infinite. There are pots and covers from last year’s garden strewn around. The neighbour’s dog has been wandering into our yard for a good poop periodically throughout the winter. The last of the tomatoes that I never got around to picking have been frozen and thawed, and are like little orange balloons, deflated but identifiable, a weird mix of papery-dry and slimy-wet. (And if you step on one, the seeds will get EVERYWHERE.) On a day like today, when I have time to be outside, I go outside all excited, and then immediately get overwhelmed.

The key, for me, is to just start. Pick a bed, and narrow my world to that one bed. Clear out the remains of last year’s plants. Dig out the weeds that have already begun appearing. Give the little tiny mounds of perennials’ new growth a bucket of water. Push the mulch back where it should be. Dig in new compost and fertilizer, once I buy some (apparently I’ve run out of both).

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“Oh, does part of your garden still need to be cleaned up? I can hardly tell.”

The other thing I want to get better at, which I shall catchily call “just sit,” is to enjoy sitting in my garden once a bit of work is done – without always focusing on what remains to be done, or getting distracted by tasks. It’s sad that I’m the kind of person who needs to add “Enjoy things” to her to-do list, but at least I’m trying.