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It’s Back to the Water Here, Too

If I can leave my garden long enough to launch my boats

The Bay Gardener has difficulty deciding which is more relaxing, spending days in the garden, spending hours sailing his 24-foot MacGregor swing-keel boat, building boats or resurrecting an old boat or tractor.
    When it is too cold, windy or wet, resurrecting an old boat or antique tractor in the warm garage provides hours of challenges and satisfaction. Now that spring is here, there is competition for my time. The garden needs to be planted, and the sailboat needs attention. I enjoy growing plants in my little greenhouse, but there is nothing like being outside in the garden pushing my hands into that warm soil while transplanting the broccoli plants or down on my hands and knees sowing seeds of peas, carrots, beets, radishes, lettuce. There is also something fascinating about cutting potatoes into seed pieces, planting them 12 inches apart in rows and waiting for the sprouts to appear in a few weeks. There is also the anticipation of waiting for the seeds to grow, looking down at rows upon rows of seedlings while wondering why some did not germinate.

Growing Peaches
No Easy Task

I’d like to plant some peaches. What do you recommend?
    –Richard King, by email

Unless you are planning on six to 10 sprayings during the growing season, don’t waste your time and money planting peach trees. I had a peach orchard until two years ago, when the stinkbugs ruined 60 percent of my crop. I recently talked to a former peach grower near Ridgely, who had the same problem and did what I did: cut down all his trees.
  Peaches are extremely susceptible to brown rot, rust, two species of borers, spider mites, aphids, stinkbugs, curcuileo and bird damage.
  If you are determined to plant them, trees are available from several mail order nurseries such as Stark Brothers, Miller and Guerny’s Nursery. There are many cultivars available. I grew Garnet Beauty, Bounty, Red Haven, Red Skin, Ernie’s Choice and Flaming Fury 14. University of Maryland introductions include Red Skin, Mar-High and Mar-Del.

Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at [email protected]. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.

Gardening through the Seasons

Fans of The Bay Gardener will want the bound volume of his wisdom. Enough Said: A Guide to Gardening Through the Seasons, compiled by the Annapolis Horticulture Society, is on sale for $20 at Greenstreet Gardens in Lothian and at Grauel’s Office Supplies in Deale. For direct orders — [email protected] — add $6 postage. The Bay Gardener will inscribe your book and send it by return mail.

    I don’t find prepping the sailboat either fun or relaxing. Removing the cover tarp or swabbing the deck is a chore that I delay as long as possible, knowing that it has to be done. However, I know that when the warm weather arrives and the winds are gentle, it will be great to lower the boat into the water, motor out beyond the channel marker and go sailing. The solitude of being in the sailboat, being propelled by a warm, gentle breeze and listening to the waves lap the hull of the boat is both relaxing and rewarding.
    Launching the canoe into Rockhold Creek and canoeing up into the headwaters is also a great Sunday evening pastime. As we silently glide through the water, we keep our eyes open for the wildlife along the banks. We are constantly being watched by bald eagles, osprey, terns, seagulls and red-winged black birds. It is not uncommon to see muskrats swimming along the shore on evening rides.
    Occasionally, we see river otters, deer, fox and raccoons or scare up large fish that had been quietly resting on the bottom of the creek. Seeing their wakes, we wonder how big they might be.
    Within 100 yards of where Rockhold Creek crosses Swamp Circle Road, we get the feeling that we are canoeing in L.L. Bean country. At this point there are no buildings visible, giving us the feeling that we are alone in the wilderness. What more could you ask for while canoeing just 33 miles east of our nation’s capitol?