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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, May 10, 2009


The definitions of sprout addressed in this writing are – a) a new growth from a seed, rootstock, or the like or b) something suggesting a sprout, as a young person. As mentioned in other writings of bygone days, my favorite season is spring and a large part of this favoriteness is the sprouts that burst forth on plants, bushes and trees. And a major part of the sprouts that are looked forward to are the ones coming forth in my veggie garden.

This garden is always a part of my year and I only remember one year in the last 39 that I didn’t plant one. The year was 2000 and I was working a lot of overtime plus the fact that my ancient tiller was very non-cooperative in the area of cranking. Next year a new one was purchased and the gardens continued. This year the garden was planted and every time I glanced that way I was expecting sprouts to be breaking the ground.

About a week after the planting the first seeds started doing just that – sprouting. Unless you are or have ever been a gardener, it is hard to imagine the feeling this gives the planter thereof. I guess it would be a feeling somewhere between the emotions of Christmas and July 4th when the seeds germinate and send their shoots exploding slowly upwards through the soil – of course there is the disappointment if some don’t sprout.

So far this year the okra seeds and cucumbers have started out well with hardly a missing plant – the squash are another story with about a fourth of them needing to be replanting. The tomatoes are also being troublesome this year with several of them dying straightaway. I planted 24 of them and had 4 spares, now the spares have been planted and it looks like I am going to need a few more – not sure what is causing this.

The 4 new pomegranates are also having some difficulties – I was told when they were bought that they were very late to sprout leaves and they truly are that. I am now seeing sprouts on two of them and possibly a third but the fourth one looks to have bitten the dust. I gave them all this past week to come to their senses or they will be replaced – my nursery has agreed to replacement plants but I wanted to be sure of their demise.

This brings us to the other definition of sprouts under consideration. These are the locally residing and Texas living gruntmonkeys of OD and YD and they are sprouting well – of course their sprouting takes a lot longer and many more emotions are involved. Some of these are good and others not so much so. Our desire for all our sprouts is that they grow up healthy and produce good fruit – or veggies. Sprouts are good and so is God. ec

PS – The photos are of cucumber sprouts, okra sprouts and boy sprouts.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

BBH 465

Blueberry Hill report 465. Much has happened in the last couple of weeks in the vast (?) and joyous estate I like to call Blueberry Hill. The spring prep has been so occupying my time that I have been mostly away from the computer – and away from any writing. Meanwhile spring has definitely sprung in spite of a light scattered frost that threatened several of my plants but only nipped back my fig bushes – one of these is tree size.

About two thirds of the leaves of my largest fig were killed but now, a couple of weeks later, new ones are even forming on the limbs of the dead ones. This is a common spring ailment of figs since the leaves are very tender and susceptible to a late frost. The blueberries have blossomed, been pollinated by the bees and now the little green berries have formed – they were unaffected by the frost and normally ripen in the first part of June.

The paw paw trees have now put on leaves – they are always late to do so. Most of the blooms are gone and several fruits have formed – all of the four have at least one small fruit forming, with one having several. Big hopes that this will be the year that I get to taste a paw paw fruit. Both the Cornelian cherry trees have leaved out but they still haven’t made an effort at forming fruit. The Juneberry trees have blossomed and leaved.

The very tiny pecan tree has yet to put on a leaf – it is always late to do so – hopefully it hasn’t croaked. The hazelnuts on both ends of the house had to be extensively pruned back and they are now in almost full leaf. This brings me around to the spot in which four fig bushes resided and were struggling due to last year’s frost. I decided to move them down the hill toward the pond and put other plants in their place.

Three were moved and one was discarded. In their place I purchased and planted four pomegranate bushes and three pineapple guava. They are very small and it will be two or three years before any fruit is realized. Still on the bedroom end of the house there are the two blueberry rows. Major efforts have been made in the last couple of weeks to get all the weeds and grass out and straw placed. Also a border around one row is now complete.

The weeds and grass had quite a hold on this area but they had to let go – the bushes that have been cleaned around are starting to look healthier. Behind the house the pear tree has bloomed, leaved and fruit has started – I may have to cull some of it so the branches won’t break. The muscadines are putting out new leaves and vines and seem to be doing well. The older blueberry patch needs some attention but that will come later.

Meanwhile the garden has been tilled and was planted on April 17th. The cucumbers came up first, with the squash close behind – the okra is even breaking through now. The tomato row has 24 plants residing therein but several of them don’t seem to be doing well – I have four spares if they croak. The two varieties I planted this year are Celebrity and Better Boy. Today I saw a few blooms already formed – the plants are still small.

Have I mentioned to anyone that spring is my favorite time of year, the time when all of God’s creation comes back to life and I am constantly awed by the viewing thereof. ec

PS - The photos are of green blueberries, baby pears, fig tree with leaves of various sizes due to the frost and the blueberry beds on the bedroom end of the house - with one row cleaned out and strawed - the second row has barely been started.