Gardening April 2020

by Jane Ahrens

From Mélie’s Garden

During this uncertain and scary time, I feel very blessed to be on Fishers Island and close to so much nature. I watch the birds at our birdfeeder and six fat pheasants strutting around underneath. Every morning I check to make sure the coyotes have not taken one away during the night and am relieved to see they all are still here. I am also waiting to see if ospreys build a nest on the new nesting platform near our house. These acts of nature bring great comfort along with the daffodils blooming and buds that are swelling on the trees.

Magnolia seedling

Last June, I went to my niece’s wedding in North Carolina and along the way, my husband and I visited the beautiful Biltmore House gardens in Asheville. The magnolias had just finished blooming and there were seed pods scattered on the ground. I brought one home and placed it in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator in a plastic bag. This spring, I took out the seeds and planted them in a pot. Much to my astonishment, two tiny shoots appeared! Hopefully, I will be able to nurse the little magnolia seedlings through to maturity. Around Palm Sunday, I am going start some vegetable seeds inside to transplant into my garden when it is warm enough later this spring.

Planting in egg shells

If you have children cooped up at home during this time, try collecting seeds from some of the food you have to experiment with – avocado, acorn squash, cucumbers, grapefruits, oranges, and even strawberries.  Plant their seeds in damp soil in a pot, paper cup or even empty eggshells. Nature recycles and it is both fun and educational to help her out in the selection of your containers. Cover them with saran wrap and see if the seeds sprout. As a child, I grew a number of seeds on my windowsill in NYC. I was quite successful with orange seeds and had a tree for fifty years. Unfortunately, it bore no fruit, but another one did.  I recently read that you can cut the bottom off of a bunch of celery and put it in a shallow dish of water and it will produce roots and grow quite nice leaves to use for cooking.  It would be fun to experiment with different fruits and vegetables to see what they will do while we are all quarantined at home and share our results.

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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