PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Garden time beckons me despite cold

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Spring may not have sprung here entirely, but many of us yard nuts are out there anyway.
Those fleetingly warm days this past weekend just set my yard-work juices to flowing for some much needed garden cleanup.
Of course, since it hadn’t rained in days, I got to start tilling up the earth and adding soil amenders to improve my harvest chances.
My little Honda Fit was fit to be tied with a load of 10 bags of dirt and 6 bags of humus.
For you non-gardeners, that “humus” is not the garlicky kind of “hummus” you dip toasted pita bread into. This stuff is more a hybrid between mulch and dirt, which I expect to continue on its way to becoming excellent soil. When I started my yard garden six springs ago, it was mostly a little dirt and a lot of red clay applied generously during the construction of my house.
My kind son helped me break up the ground with a commercial tiller, and we began to add this and that to make it more plant friendly. Each year, I add a little more goodness to the ground, which has become surprisingly fertile with all the effort.
Planning for the garden may be as much fun to me as its implementation. I like to sit out there in the sunshine with a cold beverage and draw out where I want to plant this or that. What joy!
The Garden Bug now infects my next generation, so I’m headed to Jackson soon to help there with my son and daughter-in-law’s new-house garden. It will start out small with some basics.
Amazingly, my son, who has never shown any particular handiness, spent all last weekend building a raised bed for the new culinary enterprise. Very impressive. Should we go ahead and put a few plants in, he asked. No, I think we’re better to wait a week or so because a cold snap would just ruin all our efforts, I advised him.
Twenty-four hours later, Mother Nature rained baseball-sized hail on his house. Seven windows were broken and the roof may need an overhaul for the poor kids, just nine days into their new residence. They’re learning fast about homeowners’ insurance.
In my six squares of garden, the sugar-peas are coming up and the over-wintered parsley, cilantro and garlic are absolute stars. I got so excited about the beautiful parsley that I made a huge batch of Tabbouleh, which also involves Bulgur wheat, green onions, tomatoes, cumin, olive oil and lots of lemon juice. It was wonderful, so fresh.
You really can’t beat the taste of freshness when you pick it and go right into the house to prepare it.
I can hardly wait for summer tomatoes, but I’ll just calm down until I can get them planted Easter Weekend. I’m probably tempting fate by going ahead with cucumber and green-bean seeds. But hey, if they don’t make it, it’s easy enough to re-plant.
My Florida sister has a friend who’s become a bit addicted to the dill pickles I make from my cucumbers, so I’m pushing for at least two crops this year. I’ve left enough space to plant more seeds in about a month.
I also admit I’ve found a way to be lazy and sensible at the same time. I’ve turned up some weedy rows and will leave them fallow for several months until it’s time to plant fall/winter veggies.
Usually, I completely fill up the garden with summer stuff, which keeps on going well into the fall, and I don’t have the heart to pull them up for something else. This year will be different, I’m hoping.
Some folks like to camp or play golf. I guess I’m just a farmer at heart.
Digging in the dirt is a great therapy from the daily stresses, and the reward is even more fabulous.
Patsy R. Brumfield writes a Thursday column. Contact her at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.