Saturday, May 7, 2011

Vegetable and Fruit Planting in Central Wisconsin

The Rhubarb that Ate Elgin, Illinois.

Pictures tomorrow, but today I will doing some planting on the family garden! I will be laying down black landscape fabric to warm the soil for melons, tomatoes, peppers. Potatoes, which are always planted in April around here, also need to get planted. I am establishing raspberry, strawberry, and blackberry beds today, too. More on this tomorrow.

Today, I am sharing a picture of my rhubarb, part of a hill that I will be transplanting some of to the family garden. It came to me as part of the rhubarb planted in the garden of the first house I owned in Elgin, Illinois. This rhubarb was so spectacular it was said to be abundant enough to fee the entire city of Elgin in the 1940s and 1950s when the population of Elgin hovered around 50,000. This was back in a time when it was not unusual to have the neighborhood grocer bartering for produce.

When I first bought that house, the first cousin of the deceased previous owner of my house lived next door. He was in his 90s at the time and was the sweetest guy. I remember him bringing me a huge armful of carnations when my son was born.

He told of how the area where our houses were was the first annexed subdivision in Elgin and originally the site of Elgin's harness racing track and stables. My soil was always wonderful and had so much latent fertility. I even found a horseshoe, which was the largest thing I ever found in the yard while gardening.

At the time the track was sold for housing lots it was the late 1920s. The cornerstone on my house is dated October, 1929.

The whole family, a cousin, an aunt, the previous owner of my house and his parents all got together and bought half of the city block. Their backyards all opened up on one another and it was more a compound than a housing division.

I have wonderful stories of the house and those people. My ex still lives there; and I, well, I have this incredible rhubarb!

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