Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm a little late, but I'm a little Lazy

I'm Ba-aack! And I'm not the only one. The little bunnies are back too, looking much bigger and huskier than last year. I don't know where they were hibernating for the winter but they must have chomped down on some serious root veggies beforehand. I'll try to catch them in action.

Yes I lost heart and kind of fizzled out at the end of last season. This has been mentioned to me. But I do have other time-consuming hobbies. Such as:

I've also taken up the country fiddle. Harder than it sounds, actually.

Ok well back to gardening. Don't want to bore anyone with overexplaining why I am not a fantastic fall - spring gardener. Such as Maybelline. I was shocked/jealous/impressed that when I went out back to finally clear my land for planting again, (admittedly a bit late), I checked out how things were going in Bakersfield and learned that her pea vines are already done and getting cleared out. This shed quite a bit of light on my problems last year with the peas. I mean, I know I don't have a lot of online fans, mostly this is just a journal that keeps records of planting times from year to year for myself. However, I'm embarassed that through all of my lamenting about the peas not growing last year, I never figured out that darn peas simply don't grow in the heat of the summer. They are really a cool weather crop.

I give a pass to my Florida relatives. Anything will grow anytime in that state. Lucky you guys.

Well, we will see this time around if I got them in early enough. I planted them this weekend, April 18, 2010.

First I prepped the garden. The dirt was in good shape but there were serious and invasive weeds that had taken root. I can't identify them like Skippy's Garden does so easily by sight. To me they are all weeds and annoying. I began by trying to rake them up with the hard rake after a good rain but that did not quite work. So I turned to a tool we found in the shed. I think it is a manual tiller. Here it is.

Now when I said "I" turned to this tool, I turned to this tool for approximately 3.5 minutes. Mister Siren took pity on me and put his biceps to work, tilling up the weeds in no time at all.
up the dirt and I plucked as many as I could out. We still needed more dirt. This garden has always flooded b/c it is low. With the help of a friend's pickup, we got a truckload of free dirt from nearby, but contrary to all of our assumptions, it was inadequate. We still need more dirt, and I am worried about drainage.

I should just make raised beds, sort of like demonstrated here,
but I am too cheap/poor . . . so give me another few years.

Now, the "trellis" I used last year was woefully inadequate. See here: It was just an old tomato cage and it did not work. However, that post was from June 2. So I'm impressed it was growing at all. Another thing this photo demonstrates is how goopy the soil in that corner of the garden got last year. I don't know if we have solved this problem with the extra dirt.

This year I made a better trellis, I hope. I read somewhere recently that because the peas have tiny little tendrils, they need something skinny to grab onto, so I wound string around the stakes. The "stakes" are just fence posts that are falling off of the cruddy old ancient fence around my property. We split them up and pounded them into the ground. Well, you can't beat free. We'll see how these things work before I start spending money on future crops.
I also read somewhere recently (Grow! Magazine, I believe) that you can sort of control weeds if you crowd the crops. This works for some crops but not for others. Potatoes and carrots and turnips, for example, will be ruined by crowding, b/c their roots will twist up. But other crhps will crowd out the weeds - bush beans, lettuce, etc. Taking this advice, I threw caution to the wind and ignored the spacing recommendations for the seeds and just planted a bunch in the trench I made. I'm hoping they take off like gangbusters.

Now, I planted two kinds. Sugar snaps (my favorite) and Modern Marvels. Sugar Snaps are supposed to grow 6-8 feet tall, the Marvels are supposed to be shorter. So we'll see which grows better here. I can always put up taller stakes.

I plan to mulch this year to also control weeds. I don't want to use last year's newspaper-mulch method. That was great as an experiment and everything, but I don't think I'll be repeating it. I want nice wonderful paths of mulch and as few weeds as possible. I think that mulch is the secret to that. Along with the truckload of dirt we got a truckload of mulch. It still is not enough. I don't think I'll put the mulch down until the seedlings start to come up. I don't want to make it too hard for them to come on out.

I see all of these perfect gardens with paved walkways and gravel walkways, etc. etc. I'd love to have one of those. I know the first step is to mark off the "areas" where the plants will be. But you know how frugal I am. Gravel and pavers cost money. I just grabbed some logs from the woodshed and used them.

You have the peas in the corner, then the bean patch, then the zucchini. Who am i kidding, that will never be enough room for zucchini. I will have to move them. Then to the right I planted five cucumber plants. I plan to put in lettuce/spinach/arugula/mesclun/sorrel patch to the far right, and then the area closest to us is reserved for the tomato and pepper plants when they get here. I'm ordering from Burpee's.

This is a closeup of the bean patch.

I think i might paint the logs white and maybe paint cute sayings on them. To make it more homey and less "some logs fell in my garden."

Okay, April 18, 2010. Let's grow!


Sean said...

given the photograph next to it, i thought 'country fiddle' was a euphemism for a shotgun. Well, it is now, in my book.

And you mention rabbits, which had me thinking of the late Great Sparklehorse, and this lyric "the only things I really need is water, a gun, and rabbits"

Happy growing

Trav said...

Put the newspaper under the mulch if it's not too late. We have two areas with mulch. One with newspaper and one without. The area without newspaper has plenty of weeds. The area with the newspaper has gone nearly weed free for two years... We put a double layer of news paper down, used the soaker setting on the garden hose and then covered it with mulch. It has worked great!

Good luck this season!