Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spring Planting Update

Now in early May, I'm glad to have gotten in the peas, spinach, beets, lettuce, and mustard seeds during last month's warm and dry spell, because the weather's turned cool and damp, typical for this time of the year. Everything planted on April 13 and April 20 has emerged, save for the beets, which usually are slow to show themselves anyway. But all are slow-growing, also typical for this time of year. This afternoon I hoed the tiny weedlings on the sides of the rows of the emerging seedlings. Then I planted out a couple of thirty-foot rows of onion and shallot sets, enough to eat through the summer and most if not all of the autumn. The onion sets are the Stuttgarter variety, an excellent keeping variety, but variable in quality from Fedco, and this was not one of their better years. The shallots the same--some had rotted, others were mildewed--but I got enough of the two shallot varieties (Picasa and Yellow Moon) to plant 3/4 of the row, and filled in the rest of the row with red onion sets (sweeter, milder, but they don't store well). As an experiment, because the soil looked good, I decided not to put any compost or organic fertilizer into the rows. I may regret that.

Every year it gets harder to scrabble around on my knees for this planting, as the sets need to be placed (not dropped, as with seeds) just so, and the soil mounded around them just so. Knee pads help some, though it won't be until tomorrow that I can feel whatever I may have done to my knees this afternoon. If I overdo it, they can feel spongy or painfully twingy. Probably this is arthritis, combined with accelerated wear due to old damage done from competitive downhill skiing when I was a youngster, part of it in the days before safety bindings, when twisted knees and pulled ligaments were my rewards for bad falls. Luckily, I had no broken legs then, but I can remember an occasional cast anyway, and lots of Ace bandaging. I recall having trouble getting up the stairs one particular day when one of the schoolteachers who didn't know of my problem thought I was dawdling and got behind me and commenced yelling at me and pushing me along, which I didn't appreciate and must have told her so. At any rate, I wound up in the principal's office; but after my explanation, along with a note from my parents, the principal determined it had been a misunderstanding, advised that I should get started early when I needed to use the stairs, so I wouldn't be late for class; and much to my chagrin informed the entire school of my temporary disability over the intercom during homeroom period. At that time I had a crush on a sandy-haired girl who spent most of her free time sitting at her desk and drawing horses, and guessed that I could not expect any sympathy from her--and I was right. I might as well have been a horse with a lame leg for all she cared. 

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