I know that it is spring because…

… every time I let the dogs out, Licorice comes back in covered in twigs and leaves and mysterious little burrs, all “I’M A WILD ANIMAL! YOU CAN’T TAME ME!” Meanwhile, Duncan comes back inside sneezing. Because he is a delicate puppy-flower, and he has hay fever.

… both children are suddenly complaining that they “don’t have any clothes that fit,” as if it’s somehow MY fault that they grew since last year. Also, at 15 and 17, they seem unable to grasp the concept that 10 minutes before the bus comes is not the most optimal time to start demanding I find them some larger shorts. (I’m good, but I’m not THAT good.) I bought Monkey 5 new pairs of shorts after confirming that, yes, every pair of shorts he had magically shrunk over the winter. The first morning he wore a pair, I asked him if they felt alright and he said, “Yes, they’re comfortable and easy to wear!” This prompted a conversation about the extreme (comparative) difficulty of wearing jeans (don’t ask me; I’m just as confused as you are), and for WEEKS he then appeared in the kitchen each morning, struck a pose, and announced that his shorts were easy to wear. I really have no idea what that’s about but it makes me laugh every time.


… everyone suddenly seems very interested in their grades. I am amused by this. I mean, you couldn’t be bothered for the last 9 months, why start caring now? Er, I mean… great job, kids…? (Related: I think we’re all ready for this school year to be over.)

… the other day I said to Monkey, “You have a little something on your neck, let me get it,” and I went to brush it off, thinking it was a random piece of flotsam shared with him by the dogs or whatever, and it not only didn’t brush off, it WAVED A LEG AT ME. So hey, apparently it’s gonna be a humdinger of a tick season down here. (Translation: I only dry-heaved a little while working with the tweezers and rubbing alcohol to free my precious baby from the blood-sucking grossness of nature.)

… I am rapidly becoming obsessed with this year’s gardening efforts. Which I know is one of those things I find super-interesting and talk about endlessly and maybe it’s not even remotely entertaining to anyone but me, but I am too busy crooning to my plants to notice.

This year brought an exciting discovery. We planted some wee blueberry bushes in the dog run… 5 or 6 years ago, I think? And they haven’t died (HALF-TRUTH ALERT: one of them did die the first year, but the other three have persisted), but they haven’t exactly delivered the bounty of homegrown blueberries I’d envisioned when we first put them in. Granted, I haven’t put much (any) effort into them, but still. ANYWAY! This year when doing spring clean-up and raking and leaf-blowing, Otto dumped a ton of leaves and crap over the fence directly onto the blueberry plants, sort of by accident. He forgot they were there. Well, the bushes displayed their displeasure by… doubling in size and starting to grow tons of berries.


(This is a terrible top-down photo I took by standing on a bench on the other side of the fence. Trust me, this bush is big and prolific and it has two friends just like it.)

(Moral of the story: Blueberries like a good mulching, apparently.)

Conversely, I’ve had a rosemary plant for… ummm… foreverish, at least seven years, which I started from a clipping and used to live in my herb box. Over the years it got bigger and bigger, and last year I transplanted it into the ground and it became HUGE (like, 4 feet across kind of huge). This delighted me, because 1) more fresh rosemary than anyone could possibly use up, and 2) gross bugs are repelled by rosemary. But we’ve had 40 days and nights of rain (approximately) and suddenly my rosemary is Super Sad:


It’s all kind of brown and yellow and leggy and so I went and read up on caring for rosemary, and WHADDAYA KNOW, I didn’t do anything I was supposed to. Whoops. I have it planted in our regular clay-y soil, which apparently it hates, and I haven’t trimmed it, and basically I am an abusive plant mother and now I have to try to figure out if this plant can be salvaged or if I should just rip it out.

Instead of figuring this out, I am busy planting my vegetable boxes and admiring my tomato plants. Because… reasons. This year I bought two kinds of basil, yo.


Purple basil! So pretty! And I think it’s more robust than the regular green stuff, because you can see the green one is all PLEASE STOP RAINING I’M DROWWWWWNING AND TURNING YELLOW and the purple one is all WHAT UP, I’M FABULOUS.

The basil and the tomatoes and the peppers are all pretty happy. And the green beans are coming in nicely.


This year I appear to have attracted a critter (or critterS??) who is VERY INTERESTED in several of the items I am attempting to grow from seed. My zucchini and squash are untouched, but up until this week I had a lot more cucumber shoots than this.


My Google-fu is failing me in terms of determining who or what is digging, but at first it was just holes in the soil and now plants are disappearing. The garden area is fenced, so at first I thought squirrels…? But then I remembered that small things could come through the chain link in the dog run and then just walk through the door into the wooden fenced area where the boxes are, so that opens it up to bunnies, moles, voles, and who knows what else.

Not pictured: I’m trying to grow beets and eggplant from seeds, this year. So far I have a lot of holes in the soil and no plants. GO ME. I may break down and go buy some plants, because I don’t know what I’m doing wrong with the seeds, and history suggests that eggplants at least will go nuts here, provided I can get them started. I don’t know what to think about the beets. I’ve never tried a root veggie before.

And lest you think I’ve changed in the slightest, well, I haven’t yet decided what to put in my herb box this season. Except of course for…


… MIIIIIIIIIIIIINT!!!11!!!1!!!! (Nope, that’s never going to stop being funny to me. Related: MOJITOS AT MY PLACE.)


  1. Beth R

    YAY Mint!!!!

  2. Becca

    Fellow aspie delurking to agree that pants are hard! There’s a reason I wear dresses unless it’s 20 degrees out. Pants touch your legs and stuff, yuck. (Read, it’s probably a sensory issue)

  3. Aimee

    Heh. As soon as you mention the garden I think MIIIIIIIIIINT, and it’s always funny to me too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to shudder for an hour thinking about TICKS. Ugh.

    • JennyA

      Me too! I look forward to the annual MMIIIIIIIINNNNTTT post.

  4. JennyA


  5. Jen

    I envy. We had a freeze warning last night. Chicago is poopy for spring gardening.

  6. StephLove

    I think cucumber sprouts must be mighty tasty because we often lose ours, usually to slugs. But we had a cold winter so that might not be a problem this year. I’ve tried beets twice and what happens is the greens come up, look great, and every now and then I pull up one to check and there’s no beet underground. I don’t know why. Carrots are easy, though, if you want a root veggie.

  7. Stacey

    I always look forward to your gardening posts! I’m in Oregon and for one the weather has been perfect so I got mine in around the middle or March – the ground was still sort of cold so things haven’t been going as fast as I would like, but I’m thrilled to go out each morning and look at it and coo and smile at blooms and growth as the weather has been warming the ground. I don’t have purple basil, but I did plant a purple bell pepper!

  8. RuthWells

    Imma come over for mojitos!!

    • Mir


  9. HG

    “WHAT UP, I’M FABULOUS” is going to be my new standard greeting.

  10. Meri

    I’ve killed so many rosemary plants, it’s amazing. If they dry out, you can harvest them right off the branch. :o I’m normally pretty good with plants. IIRC, blueberries like acidity. I’ve seen a lot of wild ones in the pine forests here.

    I want to play in the garden now! With the winter we’ve had, it’ll be a while yet before I can plant anything outside.

  11. beth s

    MIINNNT! :-)
    No clue about critters (ours are all birds and bugs here) but I am pretty sure beets like the clay-y soil and being neglected. They are actually one of the very few things I can plant from seed and actually get something yummy to eat. We put then in our planter box every year (along with various other things) and inevitably, everything dies in the heat/sun or gets torn up by birds and a few months later we magically have huge red beets to eat for weeks.

  12. Brooke

    Ticks don’t like nail polish remove soaked on a cotton ball! They tend to let go quickly!! :) {insert evil laugh}

  13. Angela

    Awesome! I love your gardening posts. My garden got completely taken over by poison ivy last fall, and I’m severly allergic to it so I can’t even get near it to kill it and pull it up. We finally just last week got a friend to clean up the garden for us. We got pretty frustrated with the garden last year because, besides the POISON, we had huge, beautiful tomato plants, but every time a tomato would get nice and fat and just about to start turning red, something came and snatched them in the night! Every time! We didn’t get one tomato out of about 6 plants. In the meantime I’m growing herbs in containers. A friend of ours in east Texas has a rosemary bush that’s about 5′ high and sprawls for about 5-6′! It’s huge!

  14. Brigitte

    In rainy springs, slugs mow down all my sprouts. However, last I checked, they don’t dig holes in your mulch.
    Could Licorice have developed a sudden love of cucumber sprouts? ;-)

  15. Jeanie

    Jealous of your gardening skills, and please send us in CA some of your rain!

  16. Daisy

    I have a vague memory of comments on your blog urging you NOT to plant MIIIIIIINT in your herb basket. But if you’re making mojitos or mint teas, I’ll stop by to visit. I’ll trade some dill – my dill reseeds itself before I can harvest, so we always have a lot.

  17. Elz

    My girls do the same thing as they are leaving for school-my shoooeees don’t fit! Wahhhh! But, you know, don’t tell me while we are at a shoe store or anything. Augh. Kids, man.

  18. kellyg

    My daughter says jeans don’t let her bend her knees right. So that’s why she wears yoga pants.

    I still need to get my garden ready for planting & seeds started. I feel so behind but I know that I’m not, really. Especially since we had snow flurries yesterday. There are a few things I miss about living in GA. I don’t miss pollen season but I do miss spring starting in March.

  19. Stacy

    My daughter has severe clothes sensitivity, and she refuses to wear jeans. Or any other piece of clothing that isn’t knit, and even then, it can’t touch her. As you can imagine, finding clothing that won’t touch her is extremely challenging.

    Also, beets. I LOVE beets. But, they are a cooler weather plant. You can plant them about the same time you would plant lettuce. And, even though I plant a spring and fall crop every year, I’ve never gotten anything out of my fall crop, because the soil is too warm. Thankfully, roasted beets freeze well.

    • Mir

      You know, I thought they were a colder weather thing, but they’re marked as growing in my zone in the summer so I thought I’d try. Oh well.

      Scintillating update: I asked Monkey if the pants thing was a sensory issue, and he laughed and said no, it’s a quote from Pokemon about shorts being comfortable and easy to wear. (Now I know!)

      • dolores

        oooh I’m salty now, I was just coming to ask if that’s what he was referencing!

  20. Karen

    Nothing more refreshing than a freshly made mojito.

  21. Chris of the Woodwork

    FORKS. Plain old plastic forks, pushed down into the dirt with the tines facing outward around each baby plant.

    It looks like I’m trying to grow a crop of forks, but it seems to be keeping the critters away from the seedlings.

    Worth a shot!

  22. Mary K. in Rockport

    Forks? Interesting. Now, for the reason I’m commenting: a warning – purple basil spreads like crazy, as does mint but you probably already know that.

    • Mir

      The neighborhood feral cats used to use my herb box as a litter box, so I already knew the fork thing. But I guess maybe I need to do it in all the boxes.

      And I did NOT know that about the purple basil. Oh good! The mint will have a friend!

      • Stacey


  23. Karen in Michigan

    Somehow I don’t think plastic forks will prevent the deer from eating my tulips. Trying to visualize it and –no. And apparently deer are picky. They leave the hyacinths and daffodils alone and go for the tulips.
    If you want a really easy veggie, plant the onion that gets left too long in the bin and sprouts. I had a crop of onions last summer. Since my homeowners’ association doesn’t permit us to grow fruit or vegatables, I simply told anyone who asked what was in that planter, “alliums.”

  24. Peggy Fry

    I call my garden the Bunny Buffet. I know that Lavender prefers basic soil (sweet) rather than acidy.. so you might try putting some Horticultural Lime around the rosemary plant… and maybe dig it up, put sand in the dirt, and then put it back and see if it likes that. Or just leave it the heck alone and see if it survives. (Evil laugh here….) Sometimes they just plain die if they are old enough. I had one that was a beauty and it just up and died for no good reason. The nerve! I have a new garden luv now, Cosmos!!! kinda wimpy this time of year but come August/September – yowza! Gorgeousness!

  25. Tracy B

    I was just about to say, “why didn’t she plant any mint?” lol

  26. theresa.

    I love this garden post!! Makes me want one so bad, but our yard gets only an hour of light and we can only grow ferns! Please post more pictures as everything grows :)

  27. Chris

    My girls discovered they had no dresses for spring that fit the late night before we were going to visit their grandmother for Easter. Not much better than 10 min before school and I admit to having them wear too small clothes after my dresses were quickly rejected.

    We have been on a dress, shorts, jeans and shoes buying spree even since.

  28. Liza


    That will be funny to me forever, too.

    Also, I am not at all ok with your children being 15 and 17.

  29. Sheila

    Believe it or not, I was wondering when we’d get a garden update. I can live vicariously though you for another month or three, until Spring actually makes a for real appearance here and I can finally get my hands dirty. Go, Basil!

  30. Melissa

    So jealous. I’m waiting to be past the final snowfall before we can plant!

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