Getting Ready to Garden

Cam Flaherty, here. It’s New England, it’s April, and the Is your garden an interesting mystery (1)ground is still half frozen. You didn’t get the peas planted on St. Patrick’s Day and you can’t for a while yet. Working wet soil destroys its natural structure and turns it to a brick when it dries.

What can you do to soothe those itchy impatient gardening fingers? Get everything ready. I’m thinking you might not have done this in the dark cold of last November, so pick a sunny spring day and get to work.

Head out to the garden shed or garage with a rag and a bit of old motor oil or vegetable oil. Wipe the dried soil off all the tools: trowel, shovel, pitchfork, hoe, whatever you have. Rub pitchforkthem with oil, both wooden handles and metal parts. This is also a good time to sharpen edges. Hone the digging end of the shovel, the edge of the hoe. Take a file to the tips of the tines (and try not to dwell on it being a murder weapon – just because it happened on my farm doesn’t mean it will kill someone in your garden!).

Make sure you can find your gardening gloves and that they don’t have holes in the fingers. Tidy up your shelf of string, scissors, hammer, and other incidental garden supplies. See if you need to replace any stakes or tomato cages.

The weather WILL warm up one of these days, the soil will dry out, and you’ll get to dirty those eager fingers.  Stay tuned next week for a discussion of poisons lurking in your garden.

What are you eager to plant? If you don’t garden, what kind of locally grown produce can you not wait to sample from your local farm stand?

Edith Maxwell writes the Local Foods mystery series from Kensington Publishing, in which geek-turned-organic farmer Cam Flaherty grows produce even in the winter for members of the Locavore club, but also has to solve more than one case of locally sourced murder.

About Edith Maxwell

Agatha Award winning author Edith Maxwell writes the historical Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Beyond the Page) and short crime fiction. As Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries series and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries (both from Kensington Publishing). She lives north of Boston in an antique house with her beau, where she writes, gardens, cooks, and wastes time on Facebook.
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2 Responses to Getting Ready to Garden

  1. Shiver – I remember your discovery of that murder, Cam! I really do need to replace my digging fork this year (making a note now). My new garden discovery: winter radishes, which I never heard of before a friend brought me one last fall. I’ve ordered seed but I think I’m not supposed to plant it until maybe July, feels strange. And I’m eager to see whether the spinach that I buried in leaves last fall will give me my first spring greens. (Still under snow now.) Decided not to grow any melons this year as I’m so bad at those, will buy them from the pro market gardeners in the area. I guess that’s what I’m most eager for: spring Farmer’s Market days!

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