PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Spring garden gets started as Yule tree goes

The Christmas tree is down. Gone. It must have happened this past weekend because I thought I saw it as I glanced at the house during my morning walk Friday.
For those of you who don’t recall what I’m talking about, it’s my discovery well into March that somebody in my neighborhood still had a fully dressed Christmas tree.
And so, on the week after Easter, all evidence of the Nativity season decor is gone, as far as I can see from the sidewalk.
I hope they didn’t just decide to move it to the center of the room so I’d quit gawking.
Many thanks to the fine Southern gentleman, who shall remain nameless at his request, for sending me seeds, which he insists will be the biggest cantaloupes I’ve ever seen or ever will hope to see.
He swears, if I do my gardening right, that the crop could come in bigger than a watermelon.
Wow, that may force me to invite people over, which usually is the opposite reaction to how I feel when I get a ripe melon right out of my yard-farm.
The sheer thought of it makes me fairly swoon.
I used the pre-spring days, when the soil dried somewhat, to till and add cotton-burr compost, plus some lime and some fertilizer.
Over Easter weekend, I enlisted my son’s help, even though I still worried about Mother Nature. We planted corn, okra, my own cantaloupe seeds, cucumbers and watermelon.
I already had a hardy crop of cilantro and chives, with additions of carrots, asparagus and spinach to the herb square.
A couple of months ago, I started some eggplant seeds in the house, so I was ready to put – don’t laugh – at least a dozen plants out.
My Southern gentleman friend of the big cantaloupes was mystified to hear I’d gone into eggplants in such a major way. Didn’t I know how many eggplants would suffice my own needs, he asked?
Well, yes, I said, but I discovered how well par-broiled eggplant could be frozen for use through the winter. And yes, I knew I had gone completely overboard, but I planned to share mightily with the four friends I have, oh, plus my sister in Pensacola, Fla., and my brother in Walls.
My garden guru, Byron, did not object to my walking away, after paying, with various other seedlings this past week, and so, now I’m going full bore with basil, tomatoes and peppers of the red and green bell and hot banana kinds.
As I tempt Mother Nature to strike me down, I also must report the good behavior of my thornless blackberry vines. They’re absolutely covered with blooms.
I really didn’t know what to do with them after I planted them last spring, so I left them alone, except to encourage them to entwine in an attractive shape on a kind of trellis in the back-garden. I worried that I should have cut them back or something. But now I’m glad I didn’t.
And an update on the hops crop. It’s been reported to me, from a reliable source, that it’s illegal to brew your own beer in Mississippi.
Isn’t that ridiculous? I can make wine all I want, but no beer.
Don’t tell the revenuers.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or

NEMS Daily Journal

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