YORK - Someone asked if I was still writing for the York Weekly. I had to laugh! I told him "yes, I am" just not consistently every two weeks. If I can submit an article every four weeks, I think I am doing pretty well!
These last two growing seasons have found me digging in dirt, not writing. Recently I have expanded gardening hours and decreased my nursing hours. When the cold weather arrives once again, I will do the opposite and work more hours as a developmental disabilities nurse. For now I am working in four different gardens: the home garden, the Cape Neddick garden and two First Hill gardens.
Last year I "installed" a new garden at the First Hill restaurant on Route 1 just south of York Corner Gardens. In the First Hill garden was a mix of annual flowers, perennials and vegetables. The plants went crazy in the compost and grew like weeds. There were ornamental corn and sunflowers growing together, "Sungold" cherry tomatoes, blueberries, herbs, peppers, potatoes, cucumbers, flowers and more. This year, the blueberries and raspberries survived the winter and their fruit is plumping up. Two slicing tomatoes were transplanted, but the majority of the plants are annual flowers: salvia, amaranth, strawflower, dahlia, celosia, tulsi, lemon grass, marigold and Sweet William. Some of the perennials include yarrow, violets, geranium, astilbe and other semi-shade and shade lovers as there is a big umbrella of a maple on the west end. The pulling of weeds in front of the restaurant is happening now (after a good soaking rain) and then on to attacking the very front garden near the road. What should be planted there? I think sunflowers - what do you think?
Next stop is the Cape Neddick garden at the Webster's. What does this garden grow for the 2019 season? Well, besides some destructive cutworms chopping on the baby beets there are three rows of potatoes including "Magic Molly" and "Dark Red Norland," sunflowers, pumpkins, winter squash, summer squash, beets, carrots, broccoli and a long row of cutting flowers. This fenced garden is 80 X 40 feet. The soil is fairly sandy and with all the wind and sun this garden can dry out quickly, causing little carrot seeds to not germinate or to sprout and dry out and die. Remember the trick in growing carrots? Yes, continual moisture on the row or bed. I water daily (unless it rains) for nearly two weeks to let the carrot babies get a good start.
At home we are eating garlic scapes, Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, parsley, radishes, edible pod peas, asparagus and scallions. The kale, onions, blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes and cutting and perennial flowers are all in various stages of growth. Having sunshine has helped the plants develop and now seem to be happy and healthy. The cherry tree is ladened with fruit - now to keep the birds from stealing our future bounty.
The last garden is at the old Arrows restaurant, near Ogunquit. It is now called First Hill Gardens. Writing about this transformation will have to be in a separate article as there is a lot to talk about. It was "abandoned" or "neglected" for three to four seasons so you can imagine the weeds. (I really like to say that the garden beds just were not planted and tended.) And then there are the disintegrating tarps, deer issues, etc. It is a beautiful setting and with care and time the garden beds will be much happier, less weedy and productive. Bees, birds and beneficial insects will abound.
Gardening in a different locales sure is interesting. Each place has its own micro climate, soil type, critter problem, insect infestation and specific weeds. Nearly all the seedlings going into all these gardens were started from seed and nurtured by me. (I consider them to be my little babies and I take great offense when the deer chomp their heads off!) It is so rewarding to see the plants take root and become prolific providers of food or even happiness (think beautiful flowers.) Until we meet again - Happy Summer in the garden.
I will "leaf" you with the following: no matter where you plant, grow and nurture life, just do it!