Tuesday I had a lot of work to do. I was going to do some over the weekend but the weather wasn't all that nice. Tuesday was a glorious day. It was in the mid 60Fs and mostly sunny. A perfect day to be outside.
My first chore was to clean up the fruit garden. My little raspberry patch should have been trimmed up a month ago, but as usual I waited a bit long. Not that I've ever had problems with doing it in April, but the experts say to do this kind of thing in February or March. I clipped off the old dried flowers at the end of the stalks. Then I cleaned up any canes that were broken by the snow or too small to fruit well. Since it is an ever bearer I thin the canes out in the summer and not now.
Then I checked the blueberries. I cut out a few crossing branches, but didn't trim out anything else. The roses got all the old hips clipped off. Then I went for clipping off the dead branches.. I hate this chore. This particular rose, a David Austin rose called Windrush, is vicious. Its thorns will grab you and not let go. I need arm guards for this chore. Ouch! Luckily I only do it once a year.
Then it was on to weeding and cleaning up the fruit garden. I tend to get a lot of dandelions in this bed. I pull them out a couple of times a year. Right now when they bloom is the first time. I leave all the leaves over the winter in the bed. I raked out quite a bit. I leave the leaves in the raspberries as I don't find it looks all that bad with the close canes, but I get them out of the hostas, blueberries and rose.
Then it was on to the vegetable garden which didn't get raked but did get a good portion of the leaves removed. I probably ought to rake it all up to make it look better, but since I'm going to mulch this year with leaves I figure I'd just leave some of them. As I was cleaning up, I noticed that my poor winter sown lettuce was still in its container and they were all dry and wilty. I watered them and waited until they perked up. Then I planted them out. I had to rip the roots apart to separate the plants. For a lot of plants this would be devastating, but lettuce seems to handle this kind of root shock just fine. I planted them in the little shady patch. I'm guessing they will grow very slowly, but might keep longer than the other lettuce planted in the full sun.
Since I was planting I finally got in my turnips. I noticed that I had forgotten them when I planted out the brassicas. Whoops. And I left no space for them. So I just planted them between the rows like I do for radishes. Now I'm sure everything is planted too close together. I put in two varieties, Tokyo Cross from Mac and Oasis. I hope the slugs don't get to them before they even get up.
The next order of business was planting carrots. They get planted in the solanum bed between the tomatoes and peppers. As I looked at the bed I noticed a lot of cilantro growing. I didn't want the little seedlings to die so I transplanted a lot to other random corners of the garden. Then I did a light fertilization of the bed and loosened the soil over the whole bed. In the spots where the carrots were going I did turn the soil over more. I was trying to get any big rocks out. This bed is not as well prepared as last year's bed (no double digging on a bed I'm about to leave), but the soil was very loose anyway. It was easy to push the fork all the way in without any effort. Last year this bed got a lot of compost. Worms were everywhere doing their job.
The day before I had made some mats like Granny does. I put the seed three inches apart. Though I did put two seeds at each spot. I'd rather thin than have empty spots. I only put in 7' of them. I'll put in more in a couple of weeks. After putting them in, I'm not sure that mats are my style. I like to put in little rows. They are much quicker for me. They do require more thinning, but I don't mind that part. Since I couldn't put just one seed in I'm going to have to thin anyway. I can never trust a single seed to do its job. Even some of the peppers that I presprouted before planting aren't coming up. I like my insurance policy of too many seeds.
In total I spent about 3-4 hours outside. I have more work to do this week also. I didn't get to turning my compost and starting this year's compost pile. I didn't mulch the paths, which really need it right now as the weeds are taking over and germinating all over (read this as dill and parsley everywhere).