from Koch, Folklore from Kansas
On February 28, just as we were pleased or resigned to the fact that winter was over, five inches of dampish, packable snow fell, creating an icing-on-the-cake effect on what used to be my papyrus pot. Now the pot is gone, but the roots keep the shape, and on milder days the squirrels have found it interesting to munch on.
That was a week ago. Last Saturday, on March 7, the air was full of spring, and I made major progress with my gardenplot and planted a row of snowpeas. The soil was cool but loamy, and I could imagine the dry, pale little peas shivering a minute and then settling themselves into the perfect little home they've been dreaming of ever since they escaped being eaten.
This is the new plot, with a little path in the middle. It came conveniently in this organic shape because the sun did something to the zoysia grass that attracted some bugs that ate it and turned it into a dry, brown mat that was easy to pull up and make into a garden. Now I've covered it with newspapers and mulch, and soon I hope to find out how to dig little holes through the paper and drop in seeds that will resist pests and rodents and Kansas weather and produce lots of nice vegetables.
I love living in Kansas! Look at the weather map almost any day, and you'll see three or four weather systems fighting it out to see who will bless our particular little corner of the state for that day. Usually somebody wins, but occasionally they come to terms: you take morning, and I'll take afternoon. When I see someone walking their dog in early March, wearing just shorts and a t-shirt, I worry, because I figure they should be carrying a parka and the keys to the tornado cellar, just in case. I'm liking the thunderstorm that's going on right now, but if I didn't, never fear - tomorrow it may rain a little more, but the next day the temperature is to drop thirty degrees and the sun's to come out.
I'm following in Aimee's footsteps by showing you the humble beginning of my garden, and apparently I'm following a national trend by trying to grow vegetables in my yard. But it also runs in the family. When we moved to a little San Fernando Valley town in 1945, lots of people, mostly midwestern transplants, grew a little stuff and sold it at stands by the street. We'd go around and buy vegetables, and other people bought eggs, chicken and boysenberries from my grandparents. I don't know what the peacock people sold; we never so them, just heard them. Even my parents, who were urban at heart, raised a duck once and grew a huge yam plot, because I was allergic to white potatoes. I don't remember eating the yams, but I loved playing in the irrigation ditches, diverting water that undoubtedly was destined to go somewhere else and probably learning a bit about the natural forces of water and soil when they meet. I still think that having my hands in the dirt, talking to the worms and following long runners of errant grass, is a high form of Zen meditation.