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Thursday, March 18, 2021, (2, XE).

MIDWAY, BC — Why does gardening start so late in central British Columbia?

Maybe it’s because the majority of people around here are doing other things, but there are many other tasks related to gardening that can and perhaps should be done in this liminal space between the melting of the snow and the thawing of the ground.

Driving yesterday to Grand Forks, we noticed that the distractions of eating, drinking, and smoking continue to be promoted in Midway, Anaconda and Greenwood, but farming, and farming’s subset, vegetable gardening, generally, is not.

The countryside is varied but mainly mountainous; it’s beautiful and serene, but the land is poor, resistant to rake and spade. Only certain favoured places are productive: ground where thousands of years fertile silt have been conveniently deposited; ground that receive lots of sunshine that does not escape from mountain-thrown shade until late morning early afternoon, nor is captured by it again by mid-afternoon; ground that receives the careful attention of people who, by intention or temperament, want to be grounded themselves.

Of commercial gardeners there are only a few; and, where backyard gardens were ubiquitous in the years when the Greenwood smelter was going full bore, and later when displaced Japanese Canadians were forced to be here and found through gardening a certain way through their own adversity, gardeners are so few now as to be like as gold nuggets found laying on the ground.

Where’s the last gold nugget you found laying on the ground? Exactly.

But there are a few greenhouses, more than I recall seeing around here thirty years ago. They are either wood frame structures covered with polyethylene, ill-conceived hoop-houses built during fair weather, now shredded or collapsed. A very few are smaller, of the expensive glass and extruded aluminum variety, but all of them share one thing in common: they’re empty or being used as storage sheds for disused or broken junk mainly from the second half of the 20th century.

Maybe some of those unmasked St. Patrick’s Day revellers we saw on the way back from Grand Forks, smoking on the sidewalk outside the Legion hall in Greenwood were also responsible for building a few of those greenhouses we saw.

Back in Midway at 6:30, the three flats of parsley and onion seeds I planted last week are sprouting. Parsley takes a while to germinate, and the onions need a long to grow, but at least they’ve been started, so until tomorrow I’m a bit less behind than I was.

Now I’ve got to get this gardening ball a-rolling and keep it rolling.

I do not have any kind of greenhouse, nor a mule neither, though I do have some ground to put one on, for which I’m grateful. I’m still feeling my way forward trying not to over-think, over-plan, or over-spend. But my sense of the way things are going in this second year of this new era of X-tinction is that it’s time to, ‘Git behind the mule and plough, boy. Git behind the mule and plough’.

It would be a lot easier if the ground wasn’t still frozen.

P.D.S.

pauldavidsteer © 2021. All Rights Reserved.

By Paul David Steer

Paul David Steer lives in Midway, British Columbia.

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