Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Garden Almanac - Early May

The garden is looking considerably less weedy.  I took the spade out tonight and dug out all of the burdock and dandelions. I also removed the blackberry bushes that were invading from the berry patch and covered a section that was totally weed filled in black plastic.  They'll all die until I'm ready to plant there.   Dandelions I don't mind so much, but burdock is so hard to eliminate.  I also cleaned out some of the smaller beds in preparation for the big planting in two weeks.  We're almost at frost free here and I want to be ready. 

I even did my once annual compost turning and dig out.  I am a very hands off composter.  I dump things in as I have them, and then in the spring turn the pile to the new bin.  The Woodsman built double compost bins for me years ago out of dead standing pines from our property.  Simple and effective.  I just take off a few logs, shovel out the good stuff and then turn the left hand bin over into the right.  I love seeing trash turn into black gold. 
The potatoes are finally starting to come through the soil.  I tried a new deep planting method this year and was beginning to think that it hadn't worked - they were planted a month ago!  I'm hoping that this method yields a bigger harvest than my traditional hilling method.  I'll let you know at harvest time.

I have a love hate relationship with chickens in the garden.  I love that they eat weed seeds, till the compost pile, eat bugs and provide lovely companionship when weeding.  I hate that I've replanted my peas, lettuce, spinach, beets and onions several times due to chicken havoc.  Only two of my girls (Americanas) are light enough to fly over the fence - they usually don't do too much damage.  But, when someone forgets to shut the fence the whole flock can create major problems in minutes.  I row covered the most tender crops, and the peas and onions are tall enough now that they'll probably rally.

The rest of the garden looks good.  I'm still picking fall planted lettuce, chard and mustard.  The cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli plants are growin happily under row cover where they'll stay protected from cabbage moths the rest of the season.  The carrots and radishes are all up, and the greens and early radishes will be ready for picking soon.  I'm still harvesting some asparagus, and the new crowns have sent up shoots.  The only pest I'm dealing with at the moment are slugs and I'm eliminating them with a little bit of Sluggo, which is a great organic, pet, child and chicken friendly slug and snail control.  It works much better than the dishes of beer.  Personally, I'd rather drink the beer.

Several blueberry bushes have tiny berries on them, the black raspberries are covered in flowers and the peach tree is loaded.   I'll be picking strawberries at the berry farm this year though.  The Woodsman was over zealous in his application of fall mulch on the berry bed - most of them didn't survive, so I've replanted, but won't get much from them this year.  The tomatoes have been moved to the cold frame.  The eggplants, peppers and basil are under the grow lights and are looking good.   

I love being in the garden in the evening.  It is such a peaceful and purposeful place.  It is a time to reflect and renew from my busy day.  It is a time to have solitude and serenity.  One of my other favorite Martin Luther quotes says ( and I paraphrase here) that the best way to pray is to go stick your hands in the dirt.  I certainly agree.

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