Planting Pacifies Pandemic Panic

The cognitive disconnect is extreme. Beautiful March sunshine, flowers in bloom, the bees, buzzing in anticipation of a new season. Shuttered businesses, empty grocery shelves, shelter-in-place orders and lock-downs around the country, all in preparation for the onslaught of an invisible enemy. A liar in chief tries to turn a catastrophe to his personal advantage. News coverage is non-stop, the internet blaring at us the certainty of the uncertainty ahead.  I’m not a guns and ammo guy, so I went to the store and found some vegetable starts.

Planting Pause…  The warm early spring weather means the garden will accept the tiller without turning the soil into mud clods.  On goes manure that I hauled in last fall.  Choose where to begin and turn overwintered weeds into a rich seed bed.   Erect the piece of fencing that is the pea trellis.  Often I plant peas in March and they rot in the ground and sprout poorly – but I refuse not to try.  This year I picked up a couple of six packs of pea starts as well.  Something will work.

New starts and seeds in the ground
Potatoes and next year’s leeks

I’m pleased to find that our local hardware store has quite a selection of starts from a local organic producer.  Besides the peas I pick up spinach, golden beets, broccoli, kale and leeks.  All these go in the ground.  While we are at it, might as well put in some seeds for lettuce, carrots, beets, and parsnips.  If we are in for a pandemic, potatoes are a good plan.  They go in the east garden next to a new row of leeks.

Last year’s garden still provides pandemic dining.  I pulled plenty of parsnips to make room for the potatoes.  The last of the overwintered leeks are delicious in soups and sautées.  Old broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale that sat in the garden over the winter are now sprouting rabe that has been our pandemic staple.  Greens come in the form of self seeded arugula and mâche, swiss chard and kale.  The fresh tops of fava beans provide snacks as I work the dirt.

The garlic planted last October got the weeds pulled and its spring dressing of manure.

Garlic and last year’s leeks

I’m ready now for April showers and to take a few moments to plan the next moves.  Meanwhile…

Pandemic Proceeds… COVID cases are doubling every three days, deaths in the thousands are doubling even faster.  We are still in the early days of the unfolding  pandemonium.

Petulant politicians parrot political propaganda projecting paranoia, promising panacea, pretending patriotism.  Patiently, progressives protect people, practice persistence, plan prosperity. Pandemic pandemonium proceeds.  Peas pop.


  1. I got a laugh out of your alliteration! It feels like a tidal wave is coming and our feet are stuck in the sand; we can see badness coming but are powerless to do (much) to stop it. Let’s hope what we can and are doing (in spite of leadership that is sorely lacking) is enough so that we are left standing in the end… The current predictions for Oregon aren’t so dire if we stay the course, but that is of little use to thousands in NYC and elsewhere.

    Happy gardening, and I’m hoping all the bees are doing well!


    1. Thanks Jon,
      Yes, Oregon is doing as well as can be expected. How the end game plays out is still a big question. The bees in my yard got a new California queen a couple of days ago. Philip returned with a with a bunch of nucs in cardboard boxes with frames and all instead of packages this year, and a few queens. If it is nice tomorrow and queen is not out of her cage, I will release her and let her get to work!


  2. I realize garlic doesn’t exactly companion well with most veggies. Does anyone know if the few I just removed from one end of a 4*8 raised bed, make the remainder of that raised bed compromised? I want to get tomatoes, green beans and peas started, cilantro and peppers and cukes also. Thanks (I’m in Springfield, OR)

  3. Hi Jim, I have a companion planting chart from Wikipediea from a few years ago. It claims that Alliums are good with nightshades ( tomatoes, peppers, potatoes) and brassicas (cabbge, broccoli, etc.) but you should avoid planting it with beans, peas, and parsley… for what it’s worth…

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