April 24, 2014

One ancient celebration of spring fell upon May Day. At one time there were huge celebrations on May 1st all over Europe. Festivities included big fairs, bonfires, may-pole dances, and beauty contests to choose the May Queen.

As industry has overtaken agriculture as a mainstay of society, May Day has become less important. By Victorian times only the quaint custom of giving your friends flowers remained. The conflation of May Day with International Workers’s Day in many communist countries further muddied the waters. However, during the late 20th Century, Pagan heritage experienced a revival, so if you know where to look you can find modern May Day celebrations.

Even if you don’t want to go that far, it’s worth while looking back to celebrations of the spring. Even if it’s a little early, consider this my May Day gift to you — a bouquet of tulips from my garden, with good wishes for the spring to come.

Spokane County Master Gardeners are having a Plant Sale and Garden Fair this Saturday, April 26, from 9 am to 2 pm at the County Extension Office, 222 N. Havana, Spokane WA. They’ll have a special program on beekeeping as well.

The official Earth Day celebration is also taking place in Riverfront Park from 10 am to 5 pm. I’m also hosting an outdoor barbecue on Saturday, so I’ll have to make some tough decisions!

Did I mention that I organize my garden by numbering things? My main vegetable garden is divided into 20 squares, each assigned a letter of the alphabet. Other small beds around the yard are numbered. So my husband gave me an early birthday gift by raising the edge on Bed 3, which previously was flat. We were worrying about the cost of lumber, but then he remembered a few years ago, during spring thaw, when he salvaged a few nice boards from the riverbank. Those have become my new edging for Bed 3.

Now if it would just stop raining, I could spread my compost and mix in some excess soil from around the yard. It’s about time to plant my peas in Bed 3.

I’ve already been able to harvest a nice handful of asparagus from Bed 2. The spears are pretty thin, but raw asparagus is actually kind of tasty. I also have onion sets and kale coming up.

Not only that, I’ve put in seed for my first wave of Golden Bantam corn.

Indoor Forest
In Spokane, only one high school still has a vocational horticulture program. That’s Shadle Park High School. I really like that teacher, so last fall I donated some of my older garden seeds to the program. Last week, I got to visit again, and the teacher showed me how well the students are using those seeds. It made me pretty happy.

Among the insect visitors to my yard this week, I’ve seen honey bees (always a welcome sight) and a single bumblebee. I didn’t get a picture, but suspect she was a Western Bumblebee. She may even have been searching for a nesting site.

That’s the buzz around here. See you in one week!


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