"Did you plant potatoes?" asked Nice Mom, after being informed that I had been outside working in the garden Sunday morning.
"I did, in fact!" I replied.
"My grandpa always used to plant potatoes on St. Patrick's Day."
"A lot of people do."
"And then we had to do the potato dance...."
"It was sort of like a jig. I think it was his way of getting the grandkids to tamp down the earth after he'd planted potatoes. He used to have such a big garden. And he sold the produce from it to buy Christmas presents for the 17 of us grandkids."
Nice Mom continued, "And sometimes to buy whiskey. But he didn't drink the whiskey, it was weird. We found bottles and bottles of it stashed upstairs under his bed when we cleaned out the house after grandma died. And closets full of her canned goods. I wanted to eat one last jar of her pickled beets when we found them, but they were so old that they had all turned to vinegar."
From this exchange, I learned two things.
One, I should try to pickle some beets soon. I don't suppose there's any hope of tracking down my great-grandmother's recipe--that's the side of the family without many pictures, even--but wouldn't it be fun?
Two, we need to teach the Kid to jig. While I planted my potatoes in a pot, instead of the ground, it's a great, big pot, and he has little feet. It's definitely jig-able!
In addition to potted potatoes, however, I also planted some carrots, radishes, peas, broccolini and kale--all the usual early spring suspects.
And I finally got some garlic in the ground too. I typically plant garlic in the fall, but I never got around to it last year. The bulbs won't be ready to harvest at 4th of July, like I usually do, but it should be a fun experiment to see how they grow.
While I was out working, I took a minute to check-in on my roses. I planted a hedge of them last year, not realizing that we were in for the hottest summer ever. While it's still a little to early to be sure, I think that four of the twelve didn't make it. The other eight are putting out new shoots though, so that's encouraging.
Alas, with all of this planting, it means it's time for the ladies to begin their annual month of confinement. While our girls usually free-range the entire yard, for about a month in the spring we find it necessary to keep them in their smaller yard, so that the garden can get a head start.
We always have at least one chicken that thinks that's a bad idea and sets to escaping. This year, it appears to be Miss Taylor. But after a few snips of her flight feathers--a painless, if undignified, procedure--I'm hopeful that now she'll stay where she belongs and my peas will be safe to sprout away.