A Seedy Start for Woolx-Man

Ladies and Gentlemen, take your positions!  Ready!  Set!  Stop!  Yes, I said stop.  This is not a road race, a 100 yard dash, or even desperate attempt to shake off winter fat.   This is a serious something-else because what we’re talking about is creating and implementing a plan.  I’ve had experience with plans all my life. big and small.  Plans for a career, plans for a car, plans for a journey to Mars.  Some plans are better than others, like the plan for Mars (really good), but they are best when considered as dreams and little more than that because no plan of mine has ever turned out the way I imagined it.  Like the plan I made for renovating an old schoolhouse out in the hills fifteen years ago.  I gave myself 5 years, like Stalin did in the 1930s; a solid 5 year plan that took into account everything except what I couldn’t anticipate (the important part).  The difference is that he got what he wanted because he really had no mandate to reach any specific goals.  The goals he set were intentionally illusory.  The intent was to challenge the people to produce, produce, produce.  I foolishly set a goal in terms of completion.  Wrong.  5 years became 7, then 10, then 12, and here we are at 15 and the kitchen isn’t close to being done.  This winter I decided I didn’t like the location of the little darling and will move it to another part of the acreage this summer.  I’m a slow learner but once I learn, it’s learned: Recently, I declared my old schoolhouse renovation a lifetime project, making me very happy and my wife very concerned.

Back to the plan.

Make a plan. Photo copyright James V. Michalec 2015

Make a plan.
Photo copyright James V. Michalec 2015

I do have a plan, not one lodged in dreams as much as in reality.  It will work because I did it last year and the year before that and the year before that.  They all worked splendidly.  I ate the success of them to prove it, too.  April is here, the mud is deep, the birds are waking me early again, and these seeds need a home.  Grab the Woolx and sharpen the spade, here comes the first planting.


Now, some might think this is too early to plant.  The question isn’t when to plant a garden in it’s entirety, it’s what to plant as the season unfolds.  We toughies – I mean, those among us who can endure an Upstate winter smiling which sure ain’t me – know that the frost is gone from the ground by mid April, sometimes earlier.  Though there may be a frost, and likely will be, before the end of May, plants that are underground growers are hardy can get started before May Day strikes (that’s a pun, workers).  Beets, carrots, potatoes, garlic, brussel sprouts, lettuce (yes, lettuce), onions, and horseradish are all eligible for groundwork right about now.  Go ahead.  They will take two weeks to germinate anyway.  Peas, always a strong favourite for an early planting by Th. Jefferson, is an excellent candidate.  If it looks like a frost before they’ve really sunk their roots, place a sheet over them for some belt and suspender safety.  Personally, I don’t think a garden caught with its pants down is unsightly.


Muckraking. Photo copyright James V. Michalec 2015

Photo copyright James V. Michalec 2015


The beauty of this madness is that it will succeed and, in doing so, allow for a harvest by the end of June or the first week of July which is well ahead of the usual harvest start, avoiding all the hassle of hothouses, greenhouses, or a house of any kind.  Around the first of June, nail down another round of the same vegetables, this time adding the obvious faint-hearted vegetables like squash, cucumber, tomatoes, and beans.  So there you have it: a double whammy that allows consumption at the table to begin before you can say “Jersey Shore.”  I don’t know why I thought “Jersey Shore,” I’ve never even been there.  Just fill in your July vacation spot of choice – and watch the garden grow.