April 12, 2011

Getting Greener

It's the second sunny day in a row and I've spent parts of both days puttering in the garden(s). I've given up on growing foxgloves from seed and have finally just bought potted foxgloves and planted them in front of the front fence, with a couple of pansies. With any luck, they'll fill in (maybe if I don't plant the seeds but let them do it on their own I'll get a whole row of foxgloves). Not sure how I'll keep the neighborhood kids from grabbing the flower stalks and beating each other with them...

The backyard is all cleaned up. I've built up the lawn space and added more Eco-Turf seed, relocated a lavender and a rhubarb, pruned the potato vine and the jasmine, tied up the clematis, pulled out the winter's weeds and cut out the winter kill. The peas are about 2 inches tall, but with a much better germination rate this year. Still waiting for the carrots and spinach to appear. The seed potatoes are all planted, after putting out tiny leaf buds and shriveling rather badly on the window sill. It's just not been as warm this spring as last year (we had blueberry leaves and cherry blossoms by the middle of March last year; not so much this year) and the sunroom hasn't been as greenhouse-y as it can be.

Out in the p-patch, there are some fat asparagus spears emerging. Two more years and I can actually harvest some! The garlic is about a foot tall, and I put in the first batch of onion starts this morning.

I'm thinking I won't bother with a cover crop next winter, after cutting down this past winter's cover crop with a machete and then turning it over with a shovel. One of those hand rototillers (spikey wheels on a handle) would have made the process so much easier, and probably would have broken down the greens better. I've got blades of rye sticking out of the soil, and the roots will probably mostly figure out that they are just upside down and proceed to make more grass. At this point, it's not a cover crop so much as a potential weed. And, it's a bit psychologically challenging to plant seeds and watch them grow, then basically murder the plants before they've done all they want to do. Feels like a bait and switch.

So, while it's good to know how to improve my soil with a nitrogen fixing cover crop, I'm thinking that as long as it's not absolutely necessary to do it the long, labor-intensive way, I'll just stick with a few bags of purchased organic compost every year. Same results, less work.


  1. Anonymous2:12 PM

    Oh, Tree, I am so glad you have found a home, but I will miss you so much when I come north to visit family. Maybe I can see you in your new place. You have been part of the family for so long. I remember taking care of you when your parents were away.

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