Friday, May 17, 2013. Mixed clouds and sun. High temp: 81 degrees F; low temp: 62 degrees F.
I have no idea what to do with this gift hibiscus, having never owned one.
It was all hard labor all day today—water abatement landscaping followed by serious weeding. It looks like serious rain right now, but I fear it is skirting, circling, flirting north of us for now. What I wouldn’t give for another half-inch of rain tonight…
Oh no, no, no—no snow.
The rest of seedling onions grown in newspaper pots were finally planted. We had done two test rows—one with the entire newspaper pot/wrapping removed, and one with just the bottom of the newspaper pot removed—a week ago, and honestly, both rows have done equally well. As it is much easier to just tear away the bottom of the pots, I planted all the rest that way and surrounded the sprouts with shredded paper. In my work, I have plenty of documents to shred, so I’ve been saving up all winter. This soil covering definitely does not look as pastoral as straw, but really, so what…. It works just as well to keep weeds down and moisture in.
Thursday, May 16, 2013. Warm and humid. High temp: 84 degrees F; low temp: 61 degrees F.
Cat not shown to scale.
Because we are having camera troubles today, I have to share a photo from last year to illustrate what we don’t have this year: a mess of morels. We have a spot on our property that has reliably yielded a very nice crop of mushrooms in years past, but this year, nuthin’. Triple sigh… But, from the Department of Good News, we have so many raspberries coming on! Daily harvests start in June.
I finally got the rest of the onion seedlings planted today and have some interesting photos to share, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013. Very warm with a few sprinkles. High temp: 83 degrees F; low temp: 60 degrees F.
Be free, vermi-pals!
Long-time readers will recall that I started a vermiposting bin earlier this year. I am very happy to report that it was a success. For the past few months, I stored a bin under my desk that contained 50-some worms and weekly fed them torn-up paper or cardboard, vegetable/fruit trimmings, and few squirts of water. The result was many more worms and a bin-full of lovely compost and worm castings, which I actually dumped into our outside compost heap to help get it cooking. We started the bin simply to avoid having to walk to the outside bin in cold/wet weather, and we certainly achieved that goal. One thing I should have done better was to provide more “brown” material, like paper or dried leaves. The bin got a bit too wet at the very bottom due to this lack, but the worms didn’t seem to mind too much.
Big plans for the community garden.
Thank goodness for today’s other bit of good news: In addition to me, there were three volunteers at the community garden tonight, and we finished planting all seeds and plants. Now we just have to pray for rain, and lay down cardboard and newspaper on every surface that isn’t planted, and continue fighting the weeds and grass, and find a way to keep out the voles, and spread straw everywhere, and … well, I guess there’s still plenty to do. I’m just very grateful to have the first planting done.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013. Hot and windy. High temp: 89 degrees F; low temp: 65 degrees F.
Boom! Today’s heat was enough to burst the allium.
Two kinds of scary today: First, the weather. We’ve swung from sweatshirts in the morning to nearly 90 degrees F in one day. And there is a dry, incessant wind to go with it. It’s just so much like the start of last year’s drought…
Second, we had our first planting night at the community garden tonight, and only two volunteers showed. Community gardens are curious things: We need lots of help and the start and end of the year, but in the middle, when things are slower, people stop coming—there’s just not that much to do. But now we are starting the year needing help already. A very inauspicious start.
Monday, May 13, 2013. A perfect day. High temp: 69 degrees F; low temp: 52 degrees F.
Found a perfect little robin nest in the autumn clematis today.
As promised yesterday, I made a list of chores and stuck with it today. The goal was freeing up two sawhorses in the lower yard which have been supporting our tipi poles for about a year. I need the sawhorses so that I can start varnishing the wood for the new potager garden boxes. So we set up the tipi frame and moved the horses into the ready position. Sound simple, but this was preceded by a full day of mowing our entire property, pulling bales of weeds and garlic mustard, and raking up many wheelbarrows full of sticks.
Asian lilies are bursting up in the side garden.
We have a bit more mowing tomorrow, plus a lot more garlic mustard cursing, and then and only then can I move on to the new raised garden boxes. We’re also finally putting our first seeds and plants in the ground at the community garden tomorrow evening. More rain is coming in later this week, so just like all of the farmers I saw out in the fields today, we need to make hay while the sun shines.
Sunday, May 12, 2013. Sunny but cold and windy. High temp: 57 degrees F; low temp: 36 degrees F.
Happy Mother’s Day! I had a great dinner with my three sons on Friday, another with my in-laws yesterday, and will enjoy another with my parents today.
Cedar cones getting to know the world.
We’ve escaped frost so far, but tonight will be very cold. We covered some of the most tender plants but are hoping that a slight breeze will protect us from the worst. The soil remains cold and wet, so no planting was done this weekend.
Uh-oh… another project.
Denny and I were sort of frozen today in a sort of project paralysis. That’s because we have far too many jobs in motion right now—potager garden, vegetable gardens, community garden, basement fix, driveway expansion, and on and on—all in various degrees of fractionally done. Last week, we picked an awesome 15-foot wooden ladder out of someone’s trash with plans to make it into a new/old trellis. Where to begin?
It’s impossible to achieve focus when I am moving way too fast.
This is a problem I develop for myself almost every year: trying to stuff 50 lbs. of projects into a 10 lb. bag. My ambition and ideas far outstretch the time and money we have available. So for the next week, we’re going to focus on the new potager so that planting can happen soon. My hope is that by the end of the week you will see real progress.
Friday, May 10, 2013. Cloudy, temps dropping all day. High temp: 63 degrees F; low temp: 45 degrees F.
As much as I hate to report this, frost is expected this weekend. May 15 is actually our last official frost day, but criminately! Really? It is cold and damp today, with an inch of rain yesterday. As you probably guessed, all planting is at a complete stop.
Allium waiting for warmer weather.
I took an abashed look at our compost heap today. As much as I admire the good composting habits of others, I tend to just fling stuff in there. As a result, we don’t get the temps we need for proper decomposition and have absolutely zero chance of yielding beautiful, crumbly, free black gold.
So I opened up the bin today and pulled everything out. To my amazement, the lower part actually had composted. The upper part… well, it was a nasty, slimy, heavy, wet tangle of carbon-based life forms. I piled the uncomposted yuck to the side and removed the good stuff. I was going to take a picture to show you how great it looks, but….
Somebody else is enjoying the just-bloomed lilacs.
The rule of thumb with composting is 2/3 “brown” materials and 1/3 “green” materials. (See this video for a great description of what is “brown” or “green.”) I hereby promise to do better.