Thursday, April 22, 2010

Busy in the Garden

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.

Bed all nicely prepared

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.

I'm not good at covering the mats totally

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.

Dill in the path

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).


  1. Nice work on the beds ! Any news on the sale of your house ? (or did I miss that). And the big question, I know you're hauling the compost but are you taking the soil with you too ? :D

  2. I am going to miss this garden. I hope that the new one has a similar feel (stone/wood edges)! Will you leave your blueberry and raspberry plants? Just curious, I'm not really sure how that works, since I've never sold a house, just bought one. Thanks!

  3. RE: Asparagus beds. I posted a bit about our beds over on my blog (with pics). Regarding numbers, I put the crowns in late summer 2008, composted them in the fall. Spring 2009, I cut for 2 weeks and got 2 lbs. Fall 2009, I composted again. This spring, so far, I'm over 2 lbs and have been cutting less than 2 weeks. 28 plants total.

  4. Miss M, well our house is for sale right now. Who knows when it will sell. I'm not planning on taking my soil. I figured that would be really mean whether or not they want a garden there. If they are going to remove the garden I'm guessing I'll take a lot of the things in it though.

    Megan, It will have cedar boards for the edges. I will miss the rustic look of my current garden with the downed trees as edging. The plants will all stay. Ripping up the landscaping is considered a bad thing. If they say they don't want them, I'll probably take them along with me though. I can take cuttings of things though. Raspberries always send up shoots in all the wrong places. I can always dig those up when I need them and plant them at the new house (once I have a place for them).

    Jody M, Thanks for the info. I've never heard of anyone harvesting the first year. I guess if the spears are big enough it works.

  5. Whoa! I'm out of breath from reading about all you've done! I wish I had a 3-4 hour chunk of gardening time--or anything time! Looking forward to my toddler going to school (sorta LOL).

  6. You've been a very busy bee and got loads done. But it's that time of year and I spent two hours myself this afternoon getting some more onions in. I haven't a clue if it's the "right" time of year or not but a load have just gone to seed and so I wanted more!

  7. Glad you got some work done before the rains came. I wish my gardening chores were progressing as much as yours. Your perspective home buyers will be very appreciative of all the work that you've put into that garden!

  8. Momma_S, life gets easier once they kids leave the house. Then you start wondering what to do with all the time - well until you decide to move ;>

    Jan, It is that time of the year.

    Thomas, I was expecting a real rain on Thursday and all we got was a short thundershower. I guess we are due for more rain early next week.

  9. Sounds like you have as much gardening to do as I do! You'd think it would get easier as the garden ages! I must agree that lettuce can really take a beating.

  10. There is always spring and fall cleanup to do and always planting days. So always work in the garden.