The Spring, She Withholds

To John Clare

John Clare

Well, honest John, how fare you now at home?
The spring is come, and birds are building nests;
The old cock-robin to the sty is come,
With olive feathers and its ruddy breast;
And the old cock, with wattles and red comb,
Struts with the hens, and seems to like some best,
Then crows, and looks about for little crumbs,
Swept out by little folks an hour ago;
The pigs sleep in the sty; the bookman comes—
The little boy lets home-close nesting go,
And pockets tops and taws, where daisies blow,
To look at the new number just laid down,
With lots of pictures, and good stories too,
And Jack the Giant-killer’s high renown.


Spring is coming, isn’t it? She is a hell of a flirt right now.

I sat out on our enclosed porch today and finished reading Ruth Stout’s How to Have a Green Thumb Without an Aching Back. It’s a quick and entertaining read; if you like Nero Wolfe novels, then her brother’s work is familiar to you. If you have never read Nero Wolfe (I haven’t, I only saw the short lived TV series in its first run, which is a haphazard introduction to the character, but there were enough interesting quirks to the character to tell me I might enjoy the books if ever I get to them, BUT I DIGRESS….)

…Ruth Stout’s book is a quick and entertaining read, and she writes in the exact same way she speaks. There is good sense in what she says, because I’ve been treating my rhubarb (above), herbs, and raspberries in a similar way since 1997. It’s one of the reasons I want to move towards as many perennial, edible plants as I possibly can, because the only care I have given these beds for years is harvesting the stuff and not bothering to rake the leaves out of the beds. I plan to start “mulposting*” at least one of the raised beds this year, and see how it goes.

As for the winter sowing mentioned here, I have about 60 cartons out there now, and have something growing in almost all of them.

Red Giant Mustard on 3 April 2013 and 20 April 2013. Click through for large and click through again for huge images, if you want to really see the growth.

All of the wintersown brassicas have come up, the spinach came up (and the spinach I stared indoors did not), all the lettuce and lettuce mixtures, and some of the cukes and melons have started sprouting. If I had waited for the ground to get to workable point, I’d still be waiting. So I am glad I decided to try this technique.

* Ruth Stout eventually combined the process of mulching and composting into one action by using her vegetable matter to mulch the garden; it would compost in place. Mulching + composting = mulposting.

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