Stacking Functions Garden


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Spring 2019

This spring has been a whirlwind: mentally, physically, spiritually…literally. Gardening has happened in fits and starts. Here’s where I’m at for my annual Memorial Day garden photo shoot in 2019.

In 12 years of gardening at this house, I’ve never had to wait until Memorial Day weekend to plant my warm season vegetables (beans, tomatoes, peppers, etc). We had a cold spring and the long-term forecast never included any frost-less nights until the last few days, so finally I was able to get everything in. I’m trying a spinach that likes hot weather this year—Red Malabar spinach, which I will train on one of my trellises.

French breakfast radishes are coming along. Maybe one more week? Hopefully.

One of my master gardener projects for this spring involved starting several hundred pepper and tomato seedlings at the Lakewood Cemetary greenhouse. We distributed the free seedlings to gardeners at Sabathani Community Garden on Saturday—the weather could not have been more perfect.

Back at home, my Red Lake currants are coming along nicely. Fruit season is just gearing up—we harvested a lot of rhubarb this weekend.

I transplanted these purple dome asters into the back yard last year and they are getting eaten to the ground every few days by an adorable family of baby rabbits currently living under our deck. I went on the offensive this weekend and put cages around everything that they’re killing. Established plants can handle the nibbling, but new ones like this need a little help right now.

The gnome in a sea of pink and purple flowers—Jacob’s Ladder and wild geranium—in the dry shade under my silver maple. We expanded the size of this area last year, divided, and spread out the existing plants. It has much more visual impact now.

The new Jacob’s Ladder (polemonium caeruleum) plants that I added in the front yard have been blooming for at least two weeks. I love this plant and could not recommend it more for tough spots—even dry, shady boulevards.

My bloodroot (sanguinaria canadensis) is done blooming but has reached the stage where it really ought to have a fairy sitting under each leaf. I’m dividing and adding these all over my yard, too.

Finally, my wild columbines (aquilegia canadensis) are also blooming. I bought three of these several years ago, and they’ve reseeded themselves into at least a hundred. The original plants do not live terribly long, but it hardly matters, given how readily they multiply. You can slow down their spread (and make the plants look a little nicer during mid-to-late summer) if you cut off the stems with the spent flowers when they dry up.

A personal note.

I started writing this blog just over ten years ago. I observed but did not celebrate the anniversary this February because I was in a deep funk and was struggling to celebrate anything at all. Right around that same time, I made some important changes to bring some more space to my brain and my life, and I am now feeling more ready to move forward and celebrate the fact that I’ve been writing about gardening for TEN YEARS!

This blog started out as chapter to a really cool book called The New Liberal Arts in 2009. At that time, I was a new parent of twins, and feeling the weight of the responsibility of everything I wanted to teach them—things that I did not know—from gardening to baking bread to fermenting vegetables. I thought about it as a journey towards learning some healthy self-sufficiency skills.

Over time, however, the blog came to be mostly about gardening. I love cooking, baking, and other homey activities, but gardening is where my passion lies and it’s where I feel I can make the biggest difference. My master gardener volunteer work has underscored that for me.

Starting very soon, the name of this blog is changing from The New Home Economics to Stacking Functions Garden. I’ve already registered stackingfunctionsgarden.com and it points right here. I’ll write a post explaining what it means very soon. In the meantime, for my long-time readers, THANK YOU. Your support means a lot.