Soggy May Days

It’s raining, again. Luckily, the rain held off most of today, and we were able to go to the farmers’ market and the playground, and I got a lot of gardening done.

It’s blitz time in the garden — getting everything planted is my only priority after PTA. Nearly every non-rainy evening, the kids and my husband have been playing basketball in the driveway while I trudge around with my wheelbarrow and shovel, hauling dirt from the big pile I had delivered. I finished redoing what I now call Raised Bed #2. It’s at least 18 inches deep and it’s waiting for the tomato seedlings. Today I started a brand-new bed, RB #3, towards the back of the yard, that will be either for pumpkins or watermelons. I also filled up a round raised-bed “bag” with about half a yard of dirt, for cucumbers and more carrots.

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The tomatoes should be ready to go out soon. I’ve been trying follow protocol and harden them off — i.e., bring them outdoors for a few hours at a time to get them acclimated to heat, cold, wind, etc. It’s something I’ve skipped in the past, but Mr. Sal Gilbertie has convinced me to do it. I have 7 healthy-looking tomato seedlings, as well as 6 Tequila Sunrise pepper seedlings, all of which I have “potted on” into bigger pots. When I go to the farmers’ markets, I’m jealous of the big tomato plants for sale, but of course they grew up in a greenhouse. (I want a greenhouse.)

So I need to plant tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, watermelons, cucumbers, more carrots, and probably more lettuce. I don’t think I will do the bush beans or corn after all. I just don’t know how much more digging and shoveling I can do. Maybe in the fall I can add all the beds that I want to have, so that next spring I am basically just planting.

On the one recent morning that it wasn’t raining, I had my coffee-and-banana-bread breakfast outside at the picnic table, before picking up my shovel. It was glorious. Early morning springtime is the best time in my yard.

At the farmers’ market today, I was able to get eggs, mushrooms, some brioche bread, a bag of mixed lettuce, and sweet Italian sausage. I resisted buying a tomatillo plant. I just had my daughter with me so I was able to concentrate. Not too much else that grabbed my eye — it seemed like one big sea of lettuce. I heard a rumor there might be strawberries, but maybe I missed them.

When I went to the Rittenhouse Square farmers’ market in Philly, two weekends ago, I got eggs, lettuce, 2 lbs of chicken breast, a cilantro plant, and bread, and carted it home on the Speedline. I had always wanted to check that market out, as it’s yearlong. It had some interesting vendors, such as a forager selling ramps, which are wild onions that have a garlic/onion flavor. (Ramps are different than the wild onions I talked about picking as a kid — see here.) I wish I had bought some just for the heck of it.

Mother’s Day was last Sunday. I invited my parents over for dinner and found I had all the fixins on hand: all the makings for spaghetti gravy, bread in the freezer, etc. (They brought dessert.) I bought my mom a small gift. It was nice, low-key afternoon 🙂

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It was a busy week, but we ate in every night. Lots of leftovers, grilled cheese, etc. My daughter had an ear infection, there were PTA events, gardening… it went by fast.

So the goal is to get through the school year, take a week to lay around and do nothing, then get ready to go to… MAINE! I finally booked us a week on Mount Desert Island, near Southwest Harbor. I can’t remember if I mentioned it on here. I’m so excited to head back to the North Country.

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