Inch by inch…

Row by row, gonna let this garden grow….

one of my favorite gardening songs. I love the John Denver version.

It was warm enough today to sit in my “office”-a small square table set up by the bay window in the engawa. I love it in there because of all the windows.


I have a view of my garden and of the mountain across the valley. Glancing at the calendar this morning I realized that we are already at the end of January, time to start planning my spring garden.

I took my gardening scrapbook / journal from the bookshelf and began to leaf through it. I reread my very first entry from the spring of 2013:

“Spring in Japan is so different than what I remember it to be growing up in America. Perhaps the past 35 years in Saipan wiped the sights, sounds and scents from my memory? Whatever the case may be, it turned out to be for my good and a wonderful blessing that I should have been deprived of spring for so long. Now it is as if I am experiencing the spring for the very first time!”


I read through some of the changes I made-some I’d forgotten about because the garden has changed so much. I pulled out some clippings I had tucked away and remembered the experience of planting tomato seeds and having every single one of them grow! I had so many tomato seedlings! They made great give-aways!

So I sat today next to the bay window, watching it rain and taking notes of the changes I plan to make. I sat looking out at the overgrown passion flower vine and envisioned how the trellis will look after I cut that flower back. Half will be gone to make room for the beans.

In between staring out the window and making mental changes, I listed down the vegetables I’m going to plant.

Last year I tried to concentrate on growing a cottage flower garden. It rained so much that most of the garden was just a soggy mess. We had only about two weeks of real summer.

I’m learning that gardening, like life, is full of the unexpected. You have to learn not to hold onto things too tightly. That first year I started a garden I was fortunate-I had a good year and I was over confidant. The second year I started off feeling invincible until the slugs showed up. They must have called the aphids and caterpillars over to the party. My garden was swarming with pests.

I had the strawberries hanging in baskets and thought-ha…at least they are safe. I have no idea how those tiny little worms got into the soil and destroyed my strawberries from the inside out. Nothing left but mush.

So I learned that there are no guarantees with gardening, you just do the best you can and always be thankful for the good things that happen. Like life, I focus on the positive things I get out of my garden. I give thanks for the wonderful blessings-big and small.

I’m already looking forward to being out there in the sunshine and soil. Bees buzzing around my head and worms wriggling around in upturned soil.

On the list at the moment are:

In containers: potatoes, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, lettuce

In the ground: Japanese bell peppers,onions,spinach,broccoli

On a trellis: kabocha (Japanese pumpkin), snap peas

Hey, I figure I’ll shoot for the moon and see if I can at least land on a cloud.

I’ve got to get into the crawl space to haul out the potato bags and take stock of what I’ve got and what I need. I’ve been throwing vegetable scraps and egg shells into the garden over the winter. I left a lot of the leaves to rot in there also. Hopefully the soil will be rich and healthy for my plants.

Do you garden? If you do, when do you start planning your spring garden? Or perhaps you live in a climate where you can garden all year round?





8 thoughts on “Inch by inch…

  1. It’s in the back of my mind starting now. I plan it truly standing in front of the seed racks.
    Have you read anything about companion planting? Where you plant marigolds next to yo.ur beans? The idea is the companion plant takes on the bugs leaving it’s friend safe


    1. Yes-I have and I’ve tried it. They ate my Marigolds! I went out there one morning and all the leaves were gone…a little while later the flowers just fell off the stems and that was the end of it. I do make slug traps-a plastic yogurt container filled with beer and buried halfway into the ground. You cut little windows in the container so the slugs can crawl in. They drown in the beer. It works but you have to go out and empty/refill the containers and it’s kind of gross. I also use soap spray but it doesn’t help completely. This year I’m going to make plastic tents like I’ve seen in vegetable gardens here.


  2. I’d rather pour salt on the slugs or use chemicals (corry’s). Ick – I do not want to deal with drowned sluggos.
    I’m pretty zen about the garden – some years are just full of bugs. Thankfully, we have an awesome produce guy at my local store and many farmer’s markets nearby. Thankfully, here in Oregon, the pests aren’t so bad that row covers are the only option.


  3. No, we don’t have a real yard. Our home is rented, and while do I guess have a yard of sorts, it is covered with rocks. I’ve tried plants in pots, but I am not really good at gardening.


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