The unusually warm weather yesterday (50 degrees - but that is t-shirt weather after working outside in freezing temperatures the last couple months) meant I was able to go out and start clearing out some of my garden spaces. Yesterday I only did the front gardens. Things were so hectic in fall I did not clear out the old plants and granted it added a little compost to the beds it also left them a mess of overgrown, dead stuff. So, the front garden beds are almost ready for planting, this afternoon or tomorrow I'll work on the Secret Garden (mostly all veggies) and when I get a chance the Community Garden behind our property (also mostly veggies except the strawberries that are taking over).
One of the best purchases I've made in my long-running attempt to be a knowledgeable organic gardener (which - like riding horses - I've been doing this for years and I still feel like there is ton I still need to learn) is the Seattle Tilth Maritime Northwest Garden Guide. It is short and too the point and gives guidelines on when and where different plants grow the best in our climate.
I already know I need to do more research on growing grapes because my grape vine died after two years last summer. My friend, Beth owned a vineyard in Oregon (up until last year when they sold it) so I asked her advice but the first thing she told me was the climate is a little different where their vineyard is from here and to a beginner like me that may not sound like much but it totally changes the game plan for what works and what doesn't. So, luckily, we live in the "wine country" part of the Pacific Northwest and some of the wineries around here have written some articles on how to grow grapes here. So, a little more research and I'll try again this year.
I'm not sure what else I'm going to plant except the old stand-bys - pumpkins and shelling peas. For the last three years I've aspired to grow pumpkins for the kids in the neighborhood to make their jack-o-lanterns and two of those years the pumpkins succumbed to powdery mildew and last year I didn't plant them early enough so they weren't ready in time. Fourth year is a charm? I know how to conquer powdery mildew and I can plant them earlier this year so fingers crossed. I was actually very proud of myself last year because my pumpkins did not get powdery mildew and neither did my roses! An aquaintance told me at this time last year that no one can grow roses in this climate without them getting either powdery mildew or that black fungus stuff and I did it! But it took a lot of maintenance and spraying frequently with an organic oil mix I made.
I've got some hanging pots I'm going to try spinach and lettuce in. The slugs come out in far too much force for those and the copper strips don't keep them away and though there is organic slug bait, I am uncomfortable using that around ground plants that we're planning on eating. And I'll try carrots again. Last year I actually managed to get carrots but they didn't have a lot of taste. I need to figure out what that was about. Old seeds maybe? I have no idea if that affects the quality of the vegetable or not.
And this year I need to try my ghost pepper plants - although they will be in the garage under a grow lamp on a heating pad the whole time since it will not get hot enough outside for them to grow well. I'm sure after our neighbor who had the big pot grow thing going on in his garage a few years ago before it was legal to do that, the neighbors will talk. Well, let me rephrase that (since I'm good friends with most of our neighbors) - the neighbor two doors down who spends most of her days drinking, smoking pot and peaking out the slit in the blinds at the neighborhood (seriously - I'm not exaggerating) will be talking to herself about it.
On a completely separate note, I was listening to this song the other day and thinking how it is just the perfect "dysfunctional relationship break-up song" and it reminds me of how it felt to end one of those destructive, young, Romeo-Juliet relationships of my youth when I was too blinded by youth and insecurity to see reality. Then I looked up the video and I thought that was very well done too because it really captures how it feels to be in that mindset - much like being in a dream that flips from glorious to nightmare in seconds. My goal is to figure out a way to help my daughter to always see the reality of her worth and the beauty of herself and the world and never ever ever venture to that dark place. I hope I can say that I went through that myself and had that experience for her so she never has to and so I can have the resources to teach her never to venture to that dark place because nothing good comes out of it (well, except maybe in my case because I know what's it like and hopefully I can prevent my daughter from ever going there - and if I can prevent other young women from going there too that would be great). Relationships should not involve hurting that much or physically fighting with each other like that. Despite disagreements and occasional arguments that seem to devolve into "I'm rubber you're glue!" type statements, my marriage has shown me that love is a partnership and builds you up, not breaks you down. There is no power play in true love, there is only being best friends who've got each other's back even when you're not agreeing on something. Someone else can prevent the men from going there - that's not my thing anymore to try save sensitive, hurt, angry, violent men.