First Spade of Soil

Belgian Lettuce Patch - 2017

Belgian Lettuce Patch – 2017

I turned the first spade of garden soil Saturday.

In a couple of hours I removed cages, stakes and last year’s brush from the cherry tomato patch, turned over and broke up the soil, planted six kinds of lettuce, and posted the afternoon’s highlights on social media:

First spade of dirt turned; chives, walking onions, spring flowers up; lilacs, apple trees and pears budding (a lot); Caracas early carrots (57 days) planted; six kinds of lettuce (Wildfire mix, Ridgeline Romaine, Edox Butterhead, Red Salad Bowl, Australian Yellowleaf and Sanguine Ameliore) planted in the ground. I got out the mower to clear the brush from a small patch of garden because it was too windy to burn. It’s March 4 and spring has sprung.

First Spade

First Spade

Taking soil from one of the sunken containers I mixed a bag of leftover soil mix from last year with it in a green cart. I refilled the container and planted carrots, covering them with straw from the tomato patch. I poured a bucket of water into the container through the straw. It felt good to get into our garden.

Buds of apple blossoms appeared in abundance. If they bloom normally and pollinate it will be a bumper crop. The arrival of pollinators and timing of the last frost will be crucial. Fingers crossed everything goes well. Last year’s apple crop was virtually non-existent. We are due for a good one.

Lettuce Seeds

Lettuce Seeds

February was the warmest on record in Iowa. The frost was out of the soil and the green up will not be long. It is very early to be doing much in the yard and garden.

About 20 people gathered in our nearby town to chat over beverages and hors d’oeuvres with Congressman Dave Loebsack. For some it was the first time to meet personally with a U.S. congressman. The event lasted an hour and a local organizer took notes and discussed a plan of political action with the many young people in attendance. I listened with some members of my own cohort (older folks table) and snapped a couple of photos.

Coffee with Our Congressman

Coffee with Our Congressman

The main group discussion was about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and plans for the new administration to repeal and replace it. A bill is being crafted in the U.S. House of Representatives, but Loebsack hasn’t seen it even though he is on the committee that will eventually consider it. It rots to be in the minority for this and many other reasons.

Loebsack has been targeted by Republicans for the 2018 election.

“President Donald Trump’s 10-point win in Iowa in the 2016 election is emboldening the Republican Party to take on the state’s lone Democratic congressman,” according to the Quad-City Times.

Loebsack has been targeted since his 2006 election. We don’t assume re-election is in the bag and will have to see how the campaign rolls out. Already there are third party negative ads about Dave and a lot of work needs doing to retain the seat.

We turned the first spade of political soil yesterday as well.

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