Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cleaning Up and Planting

I'll see if I can remember all the things I did yesterday in the garden. Probably not. Much of the early part was cleaning things up which involves the whole yard. I didn't do any raking. I probably should. But I do know that I took down a lot of the old perennial stems that litter the garden. I cut them down by half in the fall, but don't take them out until spring usually. In spring they just pull right out without injuring the plants.

Then it was off to the herb circle. The oregano was just starting to come up so I cut all the dead branches off. The two thymes were harder. The English thyme was the worst off. Most of its outer branches were dead, but not all of them. So I tried to cut off as little of the living growth while getting rid of the dead growth and still not taking all afternoon to do it. The French thyme only had a handful of spots that were dead so I didn't have to be as careful. Usually the death on the plants is the other way around. English thyme is more hardy than French thyme is. I had already cut back the old chives and garlic chives as I do that before they come up for the year. The last plant is my only living rosemary left. "Arp" survived the winter for the second year. Though I'm thinking I should cover it with some old remay if we don't get snow next year. Some of the branches were browning out. So I cut them all off. Then I gave the whole pant a haircut since it was getting very big.

The compost from the winter was starting to smell. It tends to get too wet in the plastic over the winter. Typically we layer leaves with the kitchen waste, but when the leaves freeze solid we can't do that. So it all just gets tossed in. When it defrosts it smells on the first warm day. It is my signal to take it out of the plastic bin and put into the pallet bins. Turning it over helps air it out and the wet spots are layered with some dry leaves. Even though it was a bit wet for composting, the worms loved it. The whole patch was a mass of worms. Since my compost piles usually aren't hot piles any more they have become more like worm bins as long as I don't let them dry out too much.

The next chore was to weed out the spinach bed. The "weeds" were some chamomile and Johnny Jump-ups. I never did finish the weeding as I got distracted with other things. But I did move some of the jumpups to line the edge of the fence. They will be pretty for a couple of months before they get scraggly and have to be pulled out. I also line the edge of my raspberry patch with the jumpups. I didn't need to transplant many as they often come up along that edge.

I noticed that some of my irrigation for the circle garden had split where the construction workers stepped all over it installing my solar. I tested the other part and noticed that where all the connections were the holes had loosened up. This is were the fitting connects into the pipe, so it is unfixable without replacing the main pipe itself. I don't want to do that every year here. It just isn't worth tossing all that plastic every year. So my irrigation isn't working out like I expected. I'm guessing the frost gets into it and slowly opens it up more and more as more water can work its way into the crack. I took it out removing all the fittings. Sigh. I haven't yet checked the one at the wall garden. I'll have to do that soon. I might just get some soaker hose for that part and a Y fitting to connect them. That way I can just remove the irrigation easily every year. That part I can't overhead water as it is 2.5' wide and more than 50' long. And hand watering just takes too long.

I planted out lettuce, celery, broccoli, chard, and my Michihili, Napa, and regular cabbages. Four of the best lettuce seedlings were planted with the onions along the fence. I'm going to let those four go to seed. I've got Little Gem, Paris Island, Red Sails, and Deer Tongue.

These were not planted today but were planted in March. I think I might be able to harvest a few outer leaves this week.

The very early Asian greens are ready to start picking at least the ones I use in salad - Fun Jen and mizuna. The first bok choy should be ready in a week. Or at least the green stemmed ones. The purple ones are struggling. We had a wind storm a while back that took off part of the row cover and it was flapping in the wind, or rather flapping on top of the purple bok choy. The poor things are trying to recover. I never did get to planting my later set of Asian greens or seeding more. But I'll get to that today I hope. But my back was starting to hurt so it was time to go in.

Then later in the afternoon the doorbell rang. It was my Bluestone perennial order. I had some ferns, hostas, and coreopsis to plant. We have a shady spot and I think not much but a hosta can live there, but maybe the ferns will too. Oh and I forgot that I divided up my bleeding heart and moved it there too. And dug out my Anise Hyssop (to toss, too many seedlings for a plant I don't really use, though it was pretty). I needed those two spots as this week my currents ought to show up and they are getting planted in the old spots.

All I can say is that it was a beautiful day and if my back had held out longer I would have worked in the garden all afternoon long. Today looks like it might be just as nice.


  1. Your spring garden is off to a good start. The plants look good and healthy. It's so nice that you've finally found a rosemary that will overwinter in your garden. That's an herb that I take for granted because it grows like a weed here.

  2. Your greens are looking great! I think your March planted lettuce is farther along than mine. I'm anxious to get back out to my garden, but we had a record breaking 23 degrees last night, and our forecasted temperatures, which were originally supposed to be in the 70s this week, have dropped by about ten degrees, with wind chill temps much lower. I HATE this wind!

  3. I love Johnny Jump Ups and hope a few have reseeded in my garden! You are ahead of me in trimming your oregano, thyme and dead stalks. I don't have much done yet. Your greens look well. It rained more today but I did get the roses fertilized and put Epson Salts around them. We mostly have knock out roses and that is about all we do to them except deadheading. We usually get a lot of bang for the buck there. Nancy

  4. It's a busy time of year isn't it. Your garden is looking great!

    1. looks like you are off to a good start!! the garden is still under 3ft of snow here..LOL

  5. Where did you get that netting? I been looking for a strong netting for my raise bed, just like the setup you have there. And also for the blue berries. mrsjennychau at

    1. Hmm netting? Not sure what you mean. If you mean the row cover, I got it from:
      I've had it for one year so far and it has held up. I can't recommend it though until I've used it for about five to see if it is worth the price. It is very expensive.