2013-05-16 / Viewpoint

The VIEW from here

Snow is gone; it’s time to get planting


Keith Salisbury — Editor Keith Salisbury — Editor As winter reluctantly releases its tenacious grip on the mid-Michigan area, thoughts are once again to planting and gardening. Area retailers have been in the spirit since the day after Easter, when all the gardening stuff started appearing on shelves again. Never mind that I swear I saw snowflakes in the air on Mother’s Day. It’s May, we need to plant.

As a young buck, I was never much interested in the whole planting/gardening scene. Mostly I blame my father for that. You see, he was a frustrated farmer. He grew up on a farm in rural Clinton County, northwest of St. Johns, near Maple Rapids. Lots of good farm land over that way. And his first job away from home was working for a big farming operation in Bannister. But that was back during the Great Depression (the one in the 1930s, not the one in 2008), when times were tough. He married my mom and needed to support a family, so off he went into pipeline construction. Forty years later, he retired from pipeline construction, after having made a very good living (not to mention seeing much of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Kentucky).

But he never got over the farming fever. Which is why every spring of my college years, we spent a Saturday out to the company’s warehouse, working up ground and planting crops. Only to see Dad head off a couple of weeks later to spend the summer down along the Ohio River on a major project. That meant yours truly got to take care of the crops. We had strawberries growing outside the back door of our mobile home in Toledo, and over at the warehouse we had rows of sweet corn, beans, cucumbers and who knows what else. I watered, weeded and harvested, all the while grumbling about never having wanted to be a farmer in the first place. Fast forward roughly 25 years later and guess who now looks forward every spring to planting time. Yup, the same guy who didn’t want to be a farmer.

In 2000 when My

Favorite Spouse and I bought our current abode, it came with a flower bed around the large shade tree. Beginning in 2001, and every year since, we’ve had annuals surrounding that tree. The flower bed has gotten bigger, and I’ve added some soil, because the ground around our house is horrible. And I’ve had some modest success with some of my flowers, and some dismal failures. Last year’s impatiens faded early. I’ve since read there was some kind of mold problem going around last year that took them out. I’ve tried tomatoes and cucumbers with limited success. Someday I’ll have a place where I can have a bigger garden – one not limited to flowers that do well in shade (our tree keeps the flower bed in shade through most of the day). And I’d like to try my hand at raising popcorn. Dad did it a couple of times when I was still living at home, and that was kind of fun.

I know it’s still too early to plant – after all, we could have another snow squall before Memorial Day – but I think I’ll start checking out some of the garden shops this weekend, just to see what’s available this year.

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