Thursday, April 7, 2011

Garden Notes

If every day started like today, I'd spend many more days crawling back into bed. Good thing they usually don't!

But there were errands to run (more milk, some tires I scored on Freecycle, gasoline to buy, bank deposit to make.)

The tires? I requested them because I want to hang another tire swing in the yard. I also want to plant mint, and it's really invasive. That creeping Charlie you fight in the lawn? Mint. I don't want to put it in with my other herbs, but I want to have it available for Thai and middle Eastern cooking, and for tea. I've tried growing it in pots, but I end up with too many pots inside for the winter, anyway, and it really doesn't overwinter well for me, inside or out, in a pot. So I am going to try and use an old tire as a planter. I'll fill it with compost and plant it with mint. If it works really well, I'll have to keep pruning it so it doesn't escape. If it doesn't work as well, then I won't have the work of pruning. Talk about your dilemmas...

Once I was home, I tackled my morning routine. It usually takes about 2 hours to eat breakfast, feed critters, check in with my people, (I have people) and work out. I started at 10. At 1:30, I had had enough, even though I hadn't worked out yet. I ate lunch, and headed to the garden.

It's that time of year, when I work compost into the beds and try to jump the gun on getting things into the ground. About two weeks ago, I took PVC tubes and plastic sheeting and tried to make hoop houses. I wanted to warm the beds and have a place to harden off seedlings. The PVC worked OK last year, but this year; major fail.

They don't look all that great. Last year, I use floating row cover, which was in 2 1/2 foot wide strips that blew off too easily. When I looked earlier in the season, I found this white plastic. I was assured that sunlight would get through, but I wanted clear, and it wasn't available. Well, for warming the soil, the white worked, but I recently found some clear plastic and wanted to switch. In addition, the tubing doesn't weigh much, so they flop over and blow around some. I finally decided to take them out and put up something else. I tied cattle panels together along one long end which became the top, set them over the bed in an A-frame, and covered it with clear plastic. My high-tech clips for holding the plastic on are binder clips from Office Max.

This appears to be working well, and I'm planning to put some seedlings in the ground outside under this one this weekend.

Right now they're spending their days in there, getting used to the cold, cruel world. I bring them in at night so they can be cuddly warm.

I also turned over another bed. Then I added a layer of compost, turning that over, also. Fertile soil is all about the mixing.

(That photo looks a little odd. The bed is one that is still under the PVC-and-white-plastic cover,and that white on the edges is the extra sheeting, tucked under to keep the rain out.) (Yes, it probably would have been easier to just go out and take a better picture than to explain this one!)

I guess I worked out today, after all!

I am so glad we switched over to raised beds. The soil is fluffy and wonderful to work with, partially from not being stepped on as we work it during the growing season. It has also helped to cover these beds since about March 1. It finishes off the compost we put on there last fall and keeps the rain off so things can dry out. No more waiting until the end of May to be able to till and get things started! I love it, even though my first crops of cauliflower and broccoli are going to be ready when I am still in Germany...

1 comment:

Bikermom said...

Oh dear. It is April 11th and I am already thinking that perhaps next year I will try what you are doing with the raised year. Sigh. Looks dreamy Melody! Enjoy the fruit of your labor!