Monday, May 2, 2011

The Dew Point: Growing Greener -- Post 1

The state of the world is often a state of our individual minds. If we look for devastation, we find it; if we look for beauty, we find that. But if we open ourselves to reality and work to improve our lives, we can bring magnificence not only to our own life, but to those around us. Magnificence is not a gift like rain or snow; it is the result of hard, relentless work.
Today the weather is sunny, warm and tempting. Nature has been funny lately, taunting us with a day or two of spring, then returning to winter.
Ben started our garden seedlings weeks ago and, in spite of cloudy and ill-tempered skies, they’re growing and looking better than what we see available in the stores.
Today we transplanted poppies Ben started indoors and put into the vegetable garden last year to a patch beside the path we take to walk down to the meadow.
We’re ready for planting season, but nature doesn’t seem to be willing to grant it to us early this year. We’ve learned the hard way that we don’t plant out anything that doesn’t tolerate frost until after July 1. Some things can go in mid-June and a few things can go into the greenhouse in early June. But if we don’t start most of our vegetable crops in the little greenhouse attached to the front of the apartment, we only grow them to have greenery.
Somehow, despite short seasons, drought, excess rain, and salad-shooter hailstorms we’re able to eat fresh food all summer and fill the freezer with produce. It is a fierce challenge to garden here, but the rewards are terrific. With the chickens producing eggs and the garden producing produce, we feel like a couple of over-fed, contented kings. I doubt, though, that even the kings of old had it this good.
Here are just a few scattered pictures from past gardens.

Ben with one of our early cauliflower harvests

Looking through the hops vines on the garden fence

Inside the greenhouse, where everything tender has to grow, because we can get frost any time throughout the summer.

Sunflowers like this in Montana? We did it!! Okay, so maybe I’m bragging a bit. Sort of. Of all the years we’ve gardened, we’ve only been able to get them this big once. This was also the only year they ever produced seed.

Here’s the reason we garden!

The picture has some funny purple streak in the sky, but this was the year we got a free packet of red poppy seeds and they were all along the garden path. It was beautiful, but we could never get that mix again.

It’s a jungle in there!

The hops on the fence. No, we’ve never tried to brew our own beer.

This was the old lean-to greenhouse out front. The juniper was there, though much, much smaller, when we built. It became a problem shading the greenhouse, but we couldn’t take it out until we built the new, bigger greenhouse (which I’ll have to show you another time, because, strangely, we don’t have any pictures of it in our album yet).

Here’s another view of the greenhouse, but I put this picture up to show you our paint job. This is not an optical illusion. The side of the apartment is, indeed, purple. When we were looking at paint, we found this color that matched the clay soil around our place. Soil is always brown, right? So we chose the paint because our studio would look less obtrusive if we painted it the same color as the soil.
We painted the other side first, looked back and blinked our eyes, not believing it was purple, and decided that when it dried it would be brown like the soil. We painted this side and waited for a few days for it to change. Then we held the sample paint chip up to the clay soil and it was a perfect match. So, after scratching our heads, we went to town and bought the brown paint for the rest of the house.


  1. I love all the pictures of your garden! Beautiful!

  2. Thank you, Jamie. We've had a lot of fun (along with the frustration) gardening in Montana.
    We also had a lot of fun digging back in our photo album.