South Dakota gardening: where my heart be

South Dakota flowers


Lovely, ain’t it? As much as I would like to take credit for the beautiful display, I cannot. The bright flowers of an unknown kind were a snapshot from our Cancun trip a few years back.

Sometimes, when the wind is strong and the cold is stronger, I browse through my archives, put on a pair of sunglasses, swipe some sunscreen on my nose and say things like, “Why yes, another cold fruity would be delightful, kind server.” And then I take a sip of my hot coffee, pull up husband’s long, extra-thick Cabela’s socks and wonder aloud if chocolate-covered almonds can transform into the same molecular structure as carrots. Which they do, for me, no matter what anyone says.

Gardening season (take the tour!) is quickly nearing, and I am one excited farm girl over here.

A portion of the goodies arrived yesterday, and thoughts of onion candies, artichoke jerusalems, and cheddar cauliflower take captive my mind.

We are trying a few new things this year, one being a section for wildflowers to attract the good bugs. I have already envisioned where I’d like them, and in this vision I will sit by them and look at them and read to them and smell them, and they will sing to me as they breeze across my naked toes.

In the meantime, I anticipate May, when we will till and plant, water and pray, and soon enjoy the fruits of our labor as they begin to emerge from the soil, gaining strength each day.

And of course, all are welcomed to join the celebration.

South Dakota garden

Yours truly, photo courtesy of Country Man

Remember Turtle?

South Dakota turtle
Or Fall Snake? How about Winter Snake?

South Dakota snake

This month's snake.

Bo-Bo is ready for all this, too.

South Dakota pup

Come quickly, sweet spring, and let all your creatures join!


54 thoughts on “South Dakota gardening: where my heart be

  1. Wow, I wish we had space like you do for a garden. I have a raised bed, about 4×8 foot, that my hubby built last spring for me. So far it’s remained weed-free but much of the good soil was washed away over the winter. But I’ve already planted the spring crop of jalapeno peppers, eggplant, cucumber, basil, sage, cilantro, and a couple tomato plants. Cucumber is in the lead for sure but I saw flowers on the eggplant plants last night! Last year was so disappointing, all green – no fruit.

  2. We’re picking our seeds now too and preparing our veggie and flower beds. Love the first picture of those gorgeous flowers! That snake looks like one big bad boy…. Bo-Bo is SO CUTE!!!!

  3. Lovely!! We’re also gearing up for this year’s garden, still just mentally.. but Saturday at least (tomorrow) promises some decent weather and you know what that means. OUTDOORS!! at last! WHoohooo!!

  4. I envy anyone who has both the will and the ability to grow a garden! My plantings always fail due to a lack of adequate watering (no good reason for that) and a lack of enthusiasm for weeding (that happens once the temperature tops 92 and the humidity exceeds 90%, which is pretty much from May through September around here!) It’s not a good excuse though; I have friends who grow beautiful gardens anyhow! I am thinking about adding a page called “Brown Thumb Gardening” to my blog to show how bad I really am at it, but it would be a pretty boring page – here is one patch of turned over dirt with nothing growing from it, and here is a second patch of the same dirt covered with weeds! I will live vicariously through your garden, I guess!

  5. This will be my first time to have a true garden now that we just bought a home in the country. We live on an acreage and I’m hoping to have fresh veggies this year. I bought a book that was recommended by a friend about square foot gardening. I can hardly wait to see all the flowers as they come up this spring that were planted by former owners. When we saw the property for the first time it was the beginning of Fall so I don’t have any idea how beautiful it will be but I have faith it is going to be gorgeous. Your photos are inspiring. I love, love, love how you described using your imagination and memories of your Cancun trip to get you through till warmer weather reaches us. I think as women we are always eager for the new birth of Spring. Good article….loved the photos as always.

    • So true – the springtime is always welcome! I bet you will have some beautiful flowers at your new place. Gardening is a lot of labor, but if you enjoy the outdoors, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Gardening amazes me, that something so healthy and nutritious grows from a little pack of seeds. It’s a beautiful thing πŸ™‚

  6. Ah, how beautiful! Your words and photos give me the hope that maybe, just maybe I can get a little veggie garden going this year! I’ve had huge ones in the past and spent many a happy day digging in the dirt. (Unfortunately here in Maine I may have to wait until late June to get started.) I think I’ll start with the easy tomatoes and cukes. Looking forward to yummy fresh salads.

  7. Just thinking about this summer’s garden is exciting. When will you start planting?
    Bo Bo looks excited. What a cutie! πŸ™‚

  8. it’s a bummer I don’t like more veggies.. and that I didn’t get my mom’s gardening tendencies.. part of me wants to plant.. mainly so i can photograph, but the other part knows I probably wouldn’t stick with it and it would get taken over with weeds. Cancun eh? I don’t think I could drag my camo man there in a million years.. πŸ˜‰
    Hope spring comes early for you

  9. Hi, just stumbled on your blog somewhere on wordpress .. & loved this post! Um, your garden is huge. I just got overwhelmed looking at it. And I even love to garden!

    Your pictures are beautiful – thanks for the inspiration! πŸ™‚

  10. Gardening gets in your blood, doesn’t it? Looks like you had a great garden last year…I live in a townhouse so do most of my gardening in containers…actually have lettuce and radishes coming up now. And I loved the picture you painted of you and your wildflowers…I hope it turns out that way for you!! However our gardens turn out, they’re never dull!!

  11. I would kill for a garden like yours…….by the way what’s your address….

    I love to garden but I think I was passed over when they handed out green thumbs…

    A big Green thumbs up to you!

    spread the humor..

  12. My wife (littlesundog) and I both follow your blog and enjoy your posts very much. Although our place is much smaller than yours (it’s the neighbor who has the livestock – and the work that goes with that), we share many of your day-to-day activities and enjoyments. Like you, the Farm Girl is a stay-at-home, hard-working mother to our two Japanese Chin “children”, Zoe and Bear, as well as our two foster Chins Tori and Niko.

    And then there’s the care and feeding of yours truly… Like the Country Man, I enjoy bringing home the spoils of the latest hunting or fishing trip. And, even though it takes time away from “us”, the Farm Girl is always excited about having fresh, clean, healthy meat to fill the freezer when I return. From these spoils and the bounty of her garden, the Farm Girl prepares and fills our plates with the most wonderful meals! I really don’t know how you country girls do it, but we country boy hunters thank God for you and the raising and life-living that made you who you are!

    Thank you for taking a little time out of your busy days to share some South Dakota living with us. Please do keep it up.

    By the way, you MUST tell my Farm Girl how you make that sweet potato pancake batter… please?

  13. Beautiful pictures, makes me miss the garden I had in my backyard years ago. Now I live in an apartment in the city, so no garden for me. Unless you count the little herb plants sitting on my windowsill.

    And Bo-Bo is adorable!

  14. Hey SD Country Wife!

    Your “bright flowers of unknown kind” are Bougainvillea and not only grow in Mexico, but also northern CA too (our building has one on the patio).

    I also garden, but through containers as we live in SF. I got my spring garden in a couple weeks ago, and my arugula is already plumping up! When we lived in Baltimore, I had a garden there as well so I can’t wait to experiment with the new variety of plants on the West Coast.

    I’ll be sort of up your way in late May to plant my grandparents garden in Wyoming, and I can’t wait to breathe in the crisp air and dig in the massive space they call a garden! Good luck with the new flowers.

  15. This post rousted a lot of wonderful conversation! Your snake pic reminds me of my own snake experiences each year! I had one last year that lived in my garden. I’d shoo him out of the spot I was working, only to turn around and there he’d be again, hissing at me. We went the rounds all summer. I learned to appreciate his insect control… I even called him “friend” after a while!

    I have two small garden plots. I rotate crops each year between the two. If I had a small tractor I would have a huge garden with a variety of plants, but alas, I will wait patiently until we can afford such a luxury! I am proud to harvest enough vegetables to freeze for winter, make my own roasted tomato sauce for pizza and pasta, create lovely soups to freeze, and onions and potatoes to get us by for a little while (we haven’t yet devised a root cellar that can withstand Oklahoma weather and soil conditions!). I dry my own herbs for winter use as well. I struggle against the heat and summer drought, along with the sand and clay (recipe for cement) soil to produce something edible each year… sometimes I’m lucky, and sometimes I’m glad to have a nice grocery just down the street where I can buy what I need when my garden fails!

    Whatever a garden is… flowers or vegetables, large or small, watered or dryland, long season or short, we all have one thing in common: the desire to nurture and bring something living to fruition! And to “The Domestic Fringe” above… that DOES include children!!

    • The snakes don’t bother me too bad, either. At least when they are small. As they reach full maturity and size, and look like they could take me, I’m not so welcoming to them. We have an old tiller that works great for our garden. As for pizza sauces, I am looking forward to trying a new recipe a friend is sharing with me. We eat homemade pizzas on a weekly basis, so look forward to trying it out.

      Thanks for sharing your story, sundog!

  16. I began missing my garden the day after I put it to bed last year. Then the seed catalogs come in December, and that holds me over until seed starting begins indoors. Thankfully, that was last week, and the cabbages, cauliflowers and brussel sprouts will be ready to go in as soon as the ground dries enough to work. The tomatoes are just beginning to poke out of the soil, and when I put those at the end of May, I’ll start the beans and peas. Carrots, beets and lettuce will go in a few weeks ahead-because they are cooler weather crops, and can hold on if we get a frost.

    Hopefully, we won’t have a frost in June like last year, but, one never knows. πŸ™‚

    Starting my garden just starts the cycle of “I can’t wait for the stuff to can” which flows to “Gosh, there’s soo much to can!” and ends with “Whew! Thankfully canning season is done!” sometime in the fall. Not that I’m complaining! πŸ˜‰

  17. What a fantastic garden plot. What wildflowers do you think you’ll plant?

    I always admire anyone with a green thumb. I always feel sorry for the flats of annuals I buy each year, because they will most certainly be dead by July, no matter how much I love and tend to them.

    • Hey Maura! Thanks for the kind words – you can believe me when I say this done not come easily … or naturally for me. But it’s a natural for husband, who has spent many years planting and harvesting, and so I am learning from him. You can find the wildflowers here. Really hoping they measure up to what I picture in my mind. πŸ™‚

  18. Ha… I saw that first picture and my first thought was “That grew in South Dakota??!!” Not so much. But I must say I’m very impressed with your garden! We have a really small one in our backyard with tomatoes, strawberries, herbs and peppers… and some catnip for my furry kids. I’m hoping to get some squash zucchini and cucumber in there soon too.

    So what kind of flowers attract good bugs and why are they good? Do they eat the bugs that go after your veggies?

    • Hi there! Here are the wildflowers I am going to plant this year. The following is a piece from the description: Irresistible to good bugs such as ladybugs and lacewings, which work to eliminate destructive pests that do damage to plants and cropsβ€” also attractive to pollinators such as honeybees and butterflies. Not sure how they’ll work, but I look forward to giving them a try.
      Also, a garden of any size is a great thing!

      • Interesting. I definitely like butterflies but hope to keep their former selves (caterpillars) away. Caterpillars and tomato plants don’t mix. My boss actually has bees in his garden and gave us all honey for Christmas. It was tasty!

  19. I’m lusting after your garden. My front lawn is tiny, compared to the space you have, and I have been slogging along since 1992 to create something I love. Last year was the first year I achieved that. Now I get to start all over.

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