Friday, March 20, 2009

It's Too Nice To Do Nothing

Yesterday was sunny. Today I am tired and sore. There is a relationship.

It is a little early to plant although I wouldn't be surprised if people have already planted spinach and peas and other early spring vegetables. My soil certainly can "be worked". I'm thinking of planting peas tomorrow and maybe spinach. I looked in the "lettuce frame" today and see that the broccoli raab is beginning to emerge along with one of the lettuces.

But, yesterday was a clean-up day. I have a three part composter (I believe the plan came from Crockett's Victory Garden) that receives garden waste and those kitchen scraps that don't go to the composting worms in the cellar. I used to make compost fairly quickly when I could layer the garden stuff with my neighbor's newly mown grass. But most people mulch their grass these days and if the grass is really growing nicely it means that chemical additives are likely creating the lushness and that is something we don't want in the vegetable garden. So I no longer experience that early spring joy of a steaming compost pile. I still get compost, it just takes a lot longer. But one job yesterday was to break up the accumulated flower and vegetable stalks from last fall and move everything to two of the three sections. That job didn't quite get finished because the material in the lower half of the soon-to-be-empty section is still frozen.

I also spread straw over most of the vegetable garden beds. My son left behind the better part of two bales of straw (from the cob oven he constructed in the back corner of the yard) last fall and I used those. I have read several sources recently that strongly suggest not leaving any part of your garden uncovered.

My son also collected more bricks than he needed for his oven. Actually he used some of the bricks that I had lining the sides of my raised beds for the oven and brought in others that he gave me to replace those. I spent some time on my hands and knees replacing the bricks that he had removed.

We are removing the yellow raspberries that we have in the garden and planting another variety. I spent some time - on my hands and knees again - digging around some of the stumps and pulling them out.

Three days ago I set up two of our rain barrels and they both filled during the rain the next day. I have three more to set out. The purpose for the rain barrels is to provide non-chlorinated water for the garden and for the two ponds. One of our ponds has a circulating pump (not yet started up for the season) with the water then running down a stream bed to the pond, the other pond has no circulation. Toads gather in our ponds at mating time and lay their eggs. One year we saw thousands of our tiny, tiny toads develop and then leave the pond to seek their fortunes. But then recently we have seen eggs, tadpoles, and then nothing. One year we believe that grackles ate the tadpoles. But we also believe that they may be sensitive to chlorine and that when we add water from our faucet to the ponds we may be killing them. This year will be a test. If we see lots of little toads hopping away from our ponds it will suggest that the chlorine was the problem.
Anyway, one of my knees is sore, my back was stiff, and one wrist felt weak. Today is a day to rest up so I can wear myself out again tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. I am sad to see the compost steam and the golden raspberries go - both good childhood memories :) I'm sure Ian will enjoy playing in your backyard (this year he might mostly be interested in eating it inappropriately)