Sunday, June 3, 2012

Playing in the dirt

I haven't felt much like blogging lately -- the unseasonably warm weather in May has kept me busy indulging in fantasies about the amazing garden we'll have this year. It's a fantasy, I know, because right about the time everything has popped out of the ground and is looking good, we'll get one of the U.P.'s infamous Flag Day frosts or 4th of July snowstorms, but for now I'm enjoying thinking that this will be the year we get more than one ear of sweet corn. Either that, or the battery will go dead on the fence charger, we won't realize it immediately, and deer will mow everything down to ground level.

Gardening here has always been a challenge. The growing season is short (theoretically Memorial Day to Labor Day, or a little over 90 days) and our soil is marginal. It's glacial till: sand, gravel, and lots and lots of rocks. Little rocks, big rocks, in-between size rocks. We pulled this one out a few years ago:
We've been building up the soil now for multiple summers through the usual methods -- compost, manure, and planting clover that gets tilled under. It's finally reaching the point where the dirt looks like topsoil instead of a child's sand box, and the permanent plantings (rhubarb, asparagus) are starting to yield more than a lonely stalk or two.

On the positive side, it's always had really good drainage.


  1. How come your growing season is so short? You aren't that far north.

  2. Elevation. If we were down by The Lake, we'd have at least another month of frost-free days, but we're up about as high as it's possible to go in Michigan.

  3. Container gardening and glass enclosures. Or crops that do well in cold climates. Frankly, I think gardening is a pain in the ass when food is so cheap to buy, even though I bitch about the price of it at times also.

  4. One person's pain in the ass is another person's hobby.

  5. I am with you. I know the critters will find and eat my tomatoes, but I can't stop trying to find places to plant them and get "my own" tomatoes instead of geting them from the market.


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.