Silver Linings: I know nothing about gardening, but am determined to learn

Yesterday we planted kale, spinach, and broccoli rabe. Today we will plant onions, snow peas, and sugar snaps. Loads of onions. I love onions. In Italy, onions are known as the regina della cucina–queen of the kitchen. Snow peas and sugar snaps make me think of sweet peas which make me think of my grandmother who grew up impoverished in Montana. She wanted to write a novel, Sweet Peas and Rattlesnakes, but never did. Instead, she employed the oral tradition and told stories across her life. I spent the past thirty years understanding how to turn them into fiction. My mother loved to garden, but her memory is gone, so as I sort this out, my garden, I rely on friends, the internet, and the channeling of my grandmother’s determination as she made her way through childhood in a bleak Montana. As it happens, she survived the 1918 flu pandemic in that state — one of the hardest hit in the nation. I could quote some of the things she said, but they hit too close to home right now and I don’t want to scare myself–Silver Linings. She did mention that it was believed the Germans sent the virus in little envelopes. Sound familiar? Back to the garden and all that I need to learn…. For example, I had always thought that sweet peas were like sugar snaps, a delicious edible pea. Today I learned that they are poisonous, if fragrant, flowers. My grandmother’s title, Sweet Peas and Rattlesnakes, today takes a much darker turn. Gardening: Any tips? I love tips.

Inspired by Jenny McPhee

5 thoughts on “Silver Linings: I know nothing about gardening, but am determined to learn

  1. Love that you’re able to be with your mom — and taking up gardening can be a wonderful family event. Funny about the onions. You’ll be able to make onion soup until, as the old saying goes, the cows come home. I remember Tommy talking about the flu epidemic in Montana, although not too many details. Didn’t they live in Lame Deer?
    So glad you and Jenny are doing the Silver Linings. Great idea and I, for one, am cheered by the posts. So eager for your book to come out. Love to all.

    1. Grammy lived all over Montana. I believe she was in Butte during the flu epidemic, but that could just be the way I wrote in the novel. Not sure anymore. She did live on the Lame Deer Reservation. Thanks, Pat!

  2. Love onions, Montana, gardens and the hope of a future harvest. This day is blessed with fields of promise in the defiant sun. Darkness shall not last long. Hope is a fine four letter word.

  3. I’m so thrilled that I happened upon all of this today! I’m in the process of writing my own little diatribe entitled “I am a gardener“ that covers the gamut of actual gardening with soil and dirt to tendering to my own soul. The timing could not be more apropos! When we lived in Princeton my mother had a little plot of tomatoes and probably not more than 2’ x 3’ space in the low income village apartment where we lived. They were fat and juicy and birthed the love of gardening and fresher than fresh vegetable that I still have to this day. All you need for gardening Martha, is a passion for it which it sounds like you do… Because there is so much in this world to love! I do everything organic that’s my one non-negotiable, I compost everything and Every once in a while the compost actually makes it into the garden… Biggest suggestion is before you even start figure out what you’re going to do about the animals because this has caused many a downfall of my gardens . Gophers, birds, rabbits, snails, aphids … If you can do your preventative measures now you will save yourself a lot of pain later! I won’t give the details of what to do here but look it up… Protect yourself and you will have a beautiful flourishing garden and will likely fall in love with the process! Enjoy …

    1. thank you! is this Cindy Savage? The comment ended up in spam so I’m just seeing it now. I discovered maggots today on my cranberry beans! That was a lesson. They must have come with the seeds which I didn’t buy from a good source. thank you!

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