Ear to the Ground: The Insider Dirt to Gardening in Upstate NY

From the Publisher: July-August 2021

by janem on July 13, 2021

I’m in year four of my “new” garden and more in love with it every day. The structure is complete (for now), so I just get the fun of planting. Best part is that at this moment, there’s lots and lots of space for new plants, so I can be very indulgent (for now)!

There are scads of volunteers this year. They include the usual things you’d expect like cilantro, milkweed, and mullein (yes, a weed, but a useful one for me at the moment), but there have been several surprises as well. In the tiny kitchen garden, there are lots self-sown of nasturtiums and cherry tomatoes—so many damned tomatoes that I moved them all out and started a little colony in another bed. There are also a few dill plants, not in the garden, but flung about the pathways. There is nicotiana everywhere, some of it already in bloom as of late June. Perilla, one of the most useful plants I can think of, followed me to this garden as it has every garden since I first planted one single one probably 25 years ago. I love its shimmery purple foliage as a foil for almost anything. 

Last year was my first growing red buckwheat, and it won’t be my last—there will probably never be a last, there’s so much of the stuff. Ditto the crazy beautiful firecracker vine—Ipomoea lobata (morning glory)—which couldn’t make me happier. I have so much of it I’m constantly fobbing it off on other gardeners. But the most unexpected volunteer is castor bean. I have three little plants that are about to become three very large plants, and I hope they repeat this performance next year. 

On the cover you’ll see another very popular self-sower, kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate. I don’t have any of that, but I have a feeling that if I plant one, it too will be with me forever. 

Thanks, as always, for reading—

Jane

Jane Milliman, Publisher


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